Discover more from FWD
The common ground of great leaders.
And another exercise in dismantling dichotomies.
I like to say that the best leaders have two things in common - great systems and a great coach.
While that is correct more often than not, there are two other things that are nearly synonymous with the best leaders - empathy and candor.
Just as growth and inner peace might appear at odds at first glance, so do empathy and candor.
But in reality, these qualities converge to create a leadership approach that can reshape organizations, relationships, and lives.
Empathy, often associated with understanding and compassion, is the cornerstone of connection. It's about genuinely stepping into another person's shoes, seeing the world through their eyes, and acknowledging their feelings and experiences.
Candor, on the other hand, is the honesty that cuts through the noise of superficial interactions. It's about transparency and directness.
Candor might seem antithetical to empathy at first glance, but it's through candid conversations that true understanding arises.
In leadership, the interplay of empathy and candor becomes the unlock for happy, engaged, and motivated teams.
A leader who embodies empathy while embracing candor creates an environment where trust thrives. This leader listens not just with ears, but with genuine openness, validating the perspectives of their team. Through empathy, they forge bonds that transcend hierarchy.
And here's where candor dismantles the seeming dichotomy:
A leader who practices candor adds depth to empathy.
By openly sharing their own experiences, struggles, and vulnerabilities, they pave the way for others to do the same. This transparency breaks down barriers and dispels the illusion of a perfect leader, allowing authentic connections to be the natural result.
Constructive criticism, when framed within the context of empathy, becomes a tool for growth rather than a source of demotivation. The empathetic leader acknowledges the effort and potential in their team while guiding them toward improvement.
Candor is an insightful mirror that reflects reality without distortion.
It's a sincere conversation that addresses blind spots and challenges, while honoring the individual's reality. But in order for candor to be heard, it has to be riding on the coattails of empathy.
My favorite bosses have always been the ones willing to have a hard conversation with me when I need it, while genuinely caring about the why behind the conversation.
Allies, not adversaries. They enrich each other. And when you understand that, you see that one without the other just feels a little more…empty.
✌️ and ❤️,
Certified High Performance Coach™
👉 Forward Coaching