empathic leadership

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Empathic leadership

What is empathic leadership?

We all know that empathy is considered a core quality and skill for leaders. However, its power is often underestimated.

There is a significant difference between a leader that shows empathy and a leader that actually leads from empathy.

An empathic leader is someone who has a genuine interest in their team members, their feelings, the challenges they may face, their professional desires, organizational performance, and the connection between all of these.

An empathic leader makes an effort to understand what others are going through or aiming for, and facilitates a process that leads to self-actualization and ownership.

Why is Empathic Leadership important?

Empathic leadership is a core leadership skill-set, and for good reasons. Empathic leaders help employees to get the best out of themselves with the help of a deeper understanding of the relationship between feelings, performance and purpose.

When empathic leadership is lacking, there are often serious consequences…


There are serious consequences of dysfunctional empathy, or a lack of empathy:

What Roles Do You PLay?


One way of better understanding how empathically you lead, is exploring the different Functional Empathy™ roles you might be taking on as a leader…

Empathy as a potential

Since we all have different backgrounds, personality traits and (work) environments in which we (are expected to) take the lead, we each approach leadership in a different way, whether we’re considered empathic leaders or not. During the twenty-five plus years of our combined work experience and professional development, empathy has always been at the core of everything; as a value, a trait and an ever-developing skill.


Because our point of departure is that of empathy, we started seeing that different people show their empathy in different ways and with different approaches. This means that there are multiple roles we can take on as an empathic leader which you can learn about, adopt and use as genuine approaches in different situations and with different people.

Based on these different roles, we have developed a new method, Functional Empathy™: an approach which professionals and leaders can use to apply empathy in a functional and healthy way, without depleting themselves or others.

When we speak about Functional Empathy™, the first question we often get is, ‘what do you mean with functional?’ So, let’s zoom in on that.

Empathy in itself is not necessarily functional; it’s more like a potential: if you learn to apply it skillfully and with purpose, it can become one of the most powerful traits in your life and role as leader.

Functional Empathy offers that solution: an approach that can help you to adopt empathy as a value, a trait and as your strongest skill-set.

Our Leadership Development & Coaching Programs

Individual or group training & coaching programs that teach leaders to apply the unique approaches of Functional Empathy™ and Core Coaching Skills, to empower and inspire their teams.

Functional Empathy™ is an approach that helps you as a leader to learn how to use your empathic abilities as your strongest skill set, and to help others unlock their potential and create optimal performance. You will learn the key concepts of FE, combined with approaches from Acceptance and Commitment Theory (ACT), and Core Coaching Skills. This will enable you to help the people you work with to address tough challenges, tackle workplace overwhelm, set goals, learn on the job and align optimally with organizational goals.

You will gain hands-on experience applying a range of techniques, concepts and skills of FE, core coaching skills and concepts and exercises from ACT such as using the HexaFlex, different ways of listening, managing conversation, understanding and navigating trigger behavior, how to ask the right questions, etc.

Are you a coach, manager or leader? You are invited to follow us on LinkedIn.

Our NEWSLETTER – The Empathy Ambassador – discusses everything Empathy, Empathic Leadership, Empath Realities and Functional Empathy.
What Functional Empathy™ is

Why it matters for Leadership & Organizations
How it applies to both empaths and people struggling to adopt empathy into the way they work
Learn more about the 8 types on the Functional Empathy™ Scale
How to start using Functional Empathy™ in your work as a coach, manager or leader.