The Lazy CEO Podcast

5 Steps To Growing Your Leadership Empathy

by Jul 31, 2023The Lazy CEO Podcast

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In this episode, 5 Steps To Growing Your Leadership Empathy

  • The Lazy CEO Podcast welcomes guest Rob Volpe, author of a book on empathy in leadership. They discuss the importance of empathy as a defining characteristic of great leaders and its impact on loyalty, innovation, and a sense of belonging among employees.
  • The five elements of empathy are explored: dismantling judgment, asking good questions, active listening, integrating into understanding, and responding with empathy. Rob emphasizes the need for self-awareness and open exploratory questions to enhance empathy in leaders.
  • Empathy is not about giving up one’s perspective but rather making room for understanding others’ points of view. Creating a consequence-free environment when exploring potential solutions with empathy is highlighted. The podcast addresses how empathy is relevant across different generations and how it fosters effective communication and decision-making in organizations.

Here is a Glimpse of  5 Steps To Growing Empathy In Leadership

In this episode of The Lazy CEO Podcast, host Jim Schleckser welcomes Rob Volpe, author of the book “Tell Me More About That.” The discussion centers around empathy, a crucial trait for great leaders. The podcast explores how empathy is often misunderstood and considered a soft skill that leaders might struggle with. However, Rob highlights that empathy is about connecting with another person’s perspective or feelings as they experience them to foster better understanding and relationships.

The conversation revolves around the five elements of empathy that can help leaders develop this essential skill. The first element is dismantling judgment, which involves recognizing and overcoming biases and preconceived notions. Rob encourages self-awareness and practicing curiosity to understand where judgments originate. He suggests keeping a judgment journal to become more aware of biases and stereotypes.

The second element is asking good questions. Leaders should employ open-ended, exploratory questions to gain deeper insights into people’s perspectives and feelings. Rob advises reframing questions using “who, what, where, when, and how” instead of “why,” as “why” can put people on the defensive.

Next, the podcast explores the importance of active listening. Active listening involves giving someone undivided attention and understanding the spoken and unspoken aspects of communication. Leaders should pay attention to body language and context to comprehend the message.

The fourth element is integrating into understanding. Rob clarifies that empathy does not require sacrificing one’s own perspective but rather making room for others’ viewpoints. He shares an ice cream exercise, where individuals find common ground by discussing their favorite ice cream flavors.

Lastly, Rob emphasizes the significance of empathy in leadership, enhancing employee loyalty, a sense of belonging, and fostering innovation. Leaders can incorporate empathy into their decision-making process as a valuable data point that strengthens their leadership skills.

Overall, the episode highlights the importance of empathy in leadership and provides practical steps for developing this essential skill. Leaders can create a more empathetic and effective work environment by dismantling judgment, asking good questions, engaging in active listening, integrating into understanding, and applying empathy effectively.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Thank you to our Guest

Rob Volpe

A recognized leader in expressing meaningful insights, crafted into strategy and presented in creative ways that inspire action leading to tangible results. Rob’s work has directly led to double-digit sales growth at retail, the development of new products that buck the winds of declining categories, and providing companies with a heightened empathy toward their customers, enabling more effective ways to communicate with them. As a business strategist with insight into verticals ranging from retail to packaged goods to technology — and a keen observer of social and cultural trends — Rob frequently speaks at conferences, corporate events, and college classes. He has been quoted in Advertising Week, Mashable, Huffington Post,, Gourmet Retailer, and the Chicago Tribune.

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by The CEO Project. The CEO Project is a business advisory group that brings high-caliber, accomplished CEOs together. Our team of skilled advisors comprises current and former CEOs who have run public and private sector companies across multiple industries.