Management Monday: Celebrating Mom the Empathetic Leader

With Mother’s Day around the corner I thought I would tell you about the less recognized leader in my house growing up, my mom.  My dad is the embodiment of a Hands On Manager, but my mom is the Empathetic Leader.  She can read a room just by walking into it, and she is the best judge of character I have ever met.

What is an Empathetic Leader?

Someone willing to really listen.

They have a great capacity for listening, and have a welcoming personality that makes people want to tell them their story.

  • Example – The manager you want to talk to when you find out you are going to have to take time off to help a sick parent.

Someone who is truly intuitive.

I realize this is a catch-all term and can manifest itself in different ways.  The main theme here is that these leaders have a sixth sense to better understand their surroundings, others, and/or situations.  This includes an inner voices, “gut feelings”,  and being more aware of their surroundings to notice if something is “off”.

  • Example – When you are interviewing for a position, this is the person you always want in the room for their “gut feelings”.

Someone who is empathetic.

Just as the name says, they have the capacity to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

  • Example – This is the manager that can help the employee who is on the wrong seat on the bus or maybe even on the wrong bus feel okay with the conversation, because they start it off understanding how unhappy they are being in a role that doesn’t fit.

Someone who builds strong relationships.

This is the crowning jewel of my mother and empathetic leaders.  It is what makes them exceptional.  Their willingness to listen and ability to empathize with others develops strong relationships with their team and others across an organization, which develops the type of loyalty that is necessary in a change-driven organization.

How Does an Empathetic Manager take it to the Next Level? By letting things go. (Yes, like that now famous Disney song)  Empathetic managers feel deeply; therefore, take team opportunities more personally than others.   They also tend to take constructive feedback and internalize and overanalyze it.  Many empathetic managers are not managers, yet … they need to be developed into realizing their potential.  They see their empathy as a weakness when it is a strength.

Don’t forget to thank your mom this Sunday!  As always, please send your questions, comments, concerns, or opportunities to

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