Barbara H Smith Of BHS & Associates: 5 Ways Empathy Will Affect Your Leadership

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Conflict Management: Empathetic leaders may avoid or struggle with conflict management due to a desire to maintain harmony and avoid hurting others’ feelings. This can lead to unresolved conflicts and tension within the team.

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, is increasingly recognized as a pivotal leadership trait. In an ever-evolving business landscape, leaders who exhibit genuine empathy are better equipped to connect, inspire, and drive their teams towards success. But how exactly does empathy shape leadership dynamics? How can it be harnessed to foster stronger relationships, improved decision-making, and a more inclusive work environment? As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara H. Smith.

Barbara H. Smith, the “Celebrity Speaker Trainer,” isn’t just a title; it’s a testament to her transformative power. As a TEDx speaker, bestselling author, multi-award winning internationally acclaimed trainer, and gifted storyteller, she brings a wealth of experience to audiences of all kinds. Barbara goes beyond captivating presentations. Her combined expertise in coaching and development empowers teams with actionable communication and leadership strategies. From 20 years in cybersecurity to founding BHS & Associates, Barbara offers versatility and depth. Her work across diverse sectors (technology, construction, banking, and education) equips her to understand and tailor messages for your specific needs. A captivating speaker and media personality, Barbara has graced TV, radio, and her own show, The Empowering You Show. She connects with diverse audiences through accessible channels. Let Barbara empower your team to communicate with impact, and achieve your organizations strategic goals.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series.  Before we dive into our discussion about empathy, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path? 

My journey into my current career path started in the corridors of the Department of Defense, where I was one of two female engineers of color. Despite my official duties, I often found myself helping others with technology, even though it wasn’t part of my job description. One day, a senior colleague thanked me for my assistance and noted that I had a knack for explaining things in a way that made sense without making him feel dumb about technology.

He surprised me by suggesting I consider teaching at a collegiate level. I laughed it off, thinking you needed a Ph.D. for that. But he pointed out that my master’s degree qualified me to teach undergrads. He even said he’d recommend me to his daughter, who oversaw faculty at one of the local colleges in the area.

Sure enough, the next day, his daughter reached out asking for my transcripts and resume. That’s how I started teaching part-time at a college, and I loved it from day one.

Teaching became my passion, but I stumbled into public speaking along the way. When I hit the ceiling in my corporate job, I decided to go my own way. I started “A Learning Experience,” where we taught more “seasoned” folks how to use technology. As we grew and diversified, we rebranded to BHS & Associates.

Nowadays, I’m still on this journey of empowering others through education and training. Each step has been guided by a love for sharing knowledge and helping others succeed.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? One of the most captivating experiences in my career journey unfolded during a course in master public speaking under the guidance of Dr. Ruben West, a revered figure in the field. Little did I know, this opportunity would lead me on an unforgettable adventure to the heart of Africa as part of a United States delegation of speakers.

The trip was nothing short of transformative. As I immersed myself in the rich tapestry of African culture and connected with its people, I discovered a profound sense of belonging. From the bustling streets of Nairobi to the serene landscapes of Uganda, each encounter left an indelible mark on my soul. What began as a professional endeavor blossomed into deep friendships with residents of these vibrant nations. Their warmth, resilience, and unwavering spirit inspired me beyond measure. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of returning to Africa four times, each visit deepening my connection to this extraordinary continent.

In the wake of these experiences, I’ve authored books featuring esteemed authors from Kenya, further enriching my understanding of their diverse perspectives and narratives. But beyond accolades and achievements, it’s the profound sense of kinship and mutual respect that defines my bond with Africa.

My dream? To someday call Kenya or Uganda home, to be enveloped by the essence of its people, culture, and breathtaking beauty. For me, Africa isn’t just a destination; it’s a part of who I am—a source of endless inspiration and profound gratitude.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story? What sets our company apart is our unwavering commitment to valuing the perspectives of every associate, and how this translates into serving our clients. There’s a saying I once heard from a pastor that has become a guiding principle for us: “If I’m the smartest one in the room, everyone is fired.” This philosophy underscores our belief that greatness is achieved through collective wisdom, not individual brilliance.

As the leader of the organization, I embrace the humility of recognizing that I don’t have all the answers. I actively encourage and welcome input from our associates, recognizing that some of the best ideas emerge from unexpected sources. This culture of open dialogue fosters creativity, innovation, and a sense of ownership among our team members.

One memorable example that encapsulates our approach occurred when one of our associates was tasked with creating graphics for a crucial campaign. The result was a masterpiece—visually stunning and incredibly effective in amplifying our brand message. However, what struck me most was her humility when she confessed that she initially lacked the know-how to craft such artwork or utilize the required software.

Her dedication to not letting the team down led her to spend countless hours researching and honing her skills until she achieved excellence. When I expressed my surprise that she hadn’t reached out for assistance, she responded with a laugh, acknowledging that she now understands the value of seeking help when needed. This anecdote exemplifies the spirit of growth and collaboration that defines our company culture.

But it doesn’t stop there. Our commitment to hearing and incorporating diverse perspectives extends to how we serve our clients. By fostering an environment where every voice is heard and valued, we tap into a wealth of creativity and innovation that translates into tailored solutions and exceptional service for our clients. Our clients benefit from the collective expertise and dedication of our team, ensuring that their needs are not just met, but exceeded.

You are a successful business leader. Which three-character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each? The three-character traits that were most instrumental to my success were tenacity, persistence, and adaptability.

When COVID-19 struck and our company faced the abrupt cancellation of lucrative face-to-face training contracts, I was devastated. The sudden loss threatened our end-of-year earning goals and left me grappling with uncertainty about the future. The outside world seemed chaotic, but the real storm raged within me. Without the usual in-person interactions, I felt utterly paralyzed. Moving forward in a world where human connection was limited felt impossible.

However, in my darkest moment, a voice cut through the fog, urging me to “get up” and reminding me of my expertise as a technology professional. It was a wake-up call—a reminder that while the world was struggling to adapt to remote work and virtual communication, I already possessed the knowledge and skills to thrive in this new landscape. After all, I had been familiar with Zoom long before it became a household name.

With renewed determination, I embarked on a mission to leverage my expertise and adapt to the changing circumstances. I reached out to corporations, HR departments, educators, and organizations like the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and colleges, helping with the “new” technology and strategies for engaging audiences online.

What I discovered was a vast untapped market of individuals and organizations struggling to navigate the transition to virtual communication and online training. Armed with my knowledge and experience, I found a niche in teaching others how to effectively utilize technology for remote learning and engagement. By embracing the opportunities presented by online platforms, my company was not only able to survive but thrive in the face of adversity.

In hindsight, it was a testament to the power of tenacity, persistence, and adaptability—the unwavering determination to persevere, the resilience to overcome obstacles, and the flexibility to pivot in the face of adversity. These traits not only enabled me to weather the storm but also propelled my company to new heights by embracing the opportunities of the digital age.

Leadership often entails making difficult decisions or hard choices between two apparently good paths. Can you share a story with us about a hard decision or choice you had to make as a leader?  I’m curious to understand how these challenges have shaped your leadership.

One of the most challenging decisions I’ve faced as a leader involved restructuring our team to adapt to changing market conditions. We were at a crossroads where we had to choose between maintaining the status quo and embracing a new direction that would position us for long-term growth.

One aspect of this decision was whether to pursue a traditional approach of having a full-time team of trainers on payroll or to explore alternative options (contract staff) that would offer greater flexibility and scalability. It was a tough call, as having a dedicated team provided stability and consistency, but it also limited our ability to adapt quickly to fluctuating demands.

After much consideration, I made the difficult decision towards a more flexible model, hiring additional consultants as needed instead of maintaining a full-time team. While this decision introduced its own set of challenges, such as ensuring consistency in quality and communication among a diverse group of consultants, it ultimately allowed us to expand our reach and be more responsive to our clients’ needs.

This shift in our approach to staffing not only helped us navigate through periods of uncertainty more effectively but also empowered us to seize new opportunities for growth and innovation. It taught me the importance of being willing to challenge conventional wisdom and embrace change, even when it involves difficult decisions.

Moreover, it reinforced the value of adaptability and resilience in leadership. By remaining open to new ideas and approaches, we were able to evolve and thrive in an ever-changing business landscape, positioning ourselves for long-term success.

In hindsight, while the decision to transition to a more flexible staffing model was not easy, it was instrumental in shaping our organization’s ability to expand and remain competitive. It serves as a reminder that sometimes, the hardest decisions lead to the greatest rewards.

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Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview.  Let’s begin with a basic definition so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define empathy in a leadership context, and why do you believe it’s a vital trait for leaders to possess in today’s work environment?

Great question! I believe that in a leadership context, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings, perspectives, and experiences of others, and to respond with compassion and support. It involves putting oneself in the shoes of others, acknowledging their emotions and concerns, and demonstrating genuine care and understanding.

I also think empathy is a vital trait for leaders to possess in today’s work environment for several reasons. To begin with, we live in an increasingly diverse and globalized world. Empathy fosters inclusivity and promotes a sense of belonging among team members from different backgrounds and cultures. By recognizing and valuing the unique perspectives and experiences of everyone, leaders can create a more collaborative and supportive work environment where everyone feels heard and respected.

In addition, empathy enhances communication and strengthens relationships within teams. When leaders demonstrate empathy, they build trust and rapport with their team members, which fosters open and honest communication. Employees are more likely to share their ideas, concerns, and feedback when they feel understood and supported, leading to improved collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving.

Furthermore, empathy enables leaders to better understand the needs and motivations of their team members, allowing them to provide more effective support and guidance. By taking the time to listen and empathize with their employees, leaders can tailor their approach to coaching, mentoring, and performance management, helping individuals reach their full potential and achieve their goals.

The fact is we live in a fast-paced and constantly changing work environment. This environment requires empathy to promote employee well-being and resilience. By showing empathy and compassion during times of stress, uncertainty, and change, leaders can help alleviate anxiety, boost morale, and foster a culture of psychological safety and resilience.

Empathy is a foundational trait for effective leadership in today’s work environment. It enhances inclusivity, communication, relationship-building, and employee well-being, ultimately driving greater engagement, satisfaction, and success within teams and organizations.

Can you share a personal experience where showing empathy as a leader significantly impacted a situation or relationship in your organization?

We recently welcomed a new team member, a marketing intern, who expressed uncertainty about fitting into our organization. It was the end of her college semester, and she was juggling the demands of finals alongside the prospect of starting a new role with BHS & Associates. Meanwhile, our team had several high-touch campaigns looming, and we were eager to have her assistance.

Recognizing the intern’s predicament, we knew it was essential to approach the situation with empathy and understanding at the start of her experience. Since our leadership model places a high value on empathy, the Director of Operations, with me cc’d on the email, reached out to her. In the message, the Director shared her own experiences of navigating finals week and assured the intern that we understood the pressure she was under. She offered our new associate the option to start the following week, alleviating the immediate stress of balancing work and academics.

The intern’s response was filled with joy and appreciation. She expressed gratitude for our consideration of her situation and promised to give her all to the organization. It was a moment of affirmation—a reminder of the power of empathy to foster trust, loyalty, and a sense of belonging within our team.

As I read the exchange, I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that our core value of empathy was not just a buzzword but a guiding principle in action. By demonstrating empathy and understanding, we not only eased the intern’s transition into our organization but also strengthened the bonds of trust and respect within our team. It was a small gesture with a significant impact—a testament to the profound value of empathy in leadership.

How do empathetic leaders strike a balance between understanding their team’s feelings and making tough decisions that might not be universally popular?

Being the boss isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Even the most empathetic leaders must make tough calls that might rub some people the wrong way. Here are five tips to help them navigate this balancing act.

  • Active Listening: Empathetic leaders prioritize active listening to understand their team’s perspectives, concerns, and emotions. They create opportunities for open dialogue and encourage team members to express themselves freely without fear of judgment. By listening attentively and empathizing with their team’s experiences, leaders gain valuable insights that inform their decision-making process.
  • Transparency and Communication: Empathetic leaders communicate openly and transparently about the reasons behind tough decisions, even if they may not be universally popular. They provide context, share relevant information, and explain the rationale behind their choices to ensure clarity and understanding among team members. By being transparent, leaders demonstrate respect for their team’s intelligence and foster trust and accountability within the organization.
  • Empathy in Action: While making tough decisions, empathetic leaders prioritize empathy in their actions and behaviors. They acknowledge the emotional impact of their decisions on team members and express genuine concern for their well-being. Empathetic leaders strive to minimize any negative repercussions and offer support and guidance to help team members navigate through change or adversity.
  • Consistency and Fairness: Empathetic leaders maintain consistency and fairness in their decision-making process, regardless of personal biases or emotions. They adhere to established principles, values, and standards, ensuring that decisions are made impartially and objectively. By upholding fairness and consistency, leaders earn the trust and respect of their team members, even when tough decisions are involved.
  • Focus on the Greater Good: Empathetic leaders prioritize the greater good of the organization and its stakeholders when making tough decisions. They consider the long-term implications and consequences of their choices, weighing the needs of the team against broader organizational goals and objectives. By focusing on the bigger picture and aligning decisions with the organization’s mission and values, leaders inspire confidence and commitment from their team members.

In essence, empathetic leaders strike a balance between understanding their team’s feelings and making tough decisions by prioritizing active listening, transparency, empathy in action, consistency and fairness, and a focus on the greater good. By incorporating these principles into their leadership approach, empathetic leaders foster a supportive and resilient organizational culture where tough decisions are understood and accepted with grace and understanding.

How would you differentiate between empathy and sympathy in leadership? Why is it important for leaders to distinguish between the two?

Empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably, but they have distinctly different meanings, especially in the context of leadership.

Empathy involves understanding and sharing the feelings, perspectives, and experiences of others. It requires actively putting oneself in someone else’s shoes, acknowledging their emotions, and responding with compassion and support. Empathetic leaders demonstrate genuine care and understanding for their team members, fostering trust, connection, and mutual respect.

Sympathy, on the other hand, involves acknowledging and expressing concern for someone else’s emotions or experiences without necessarily sharing or fully understanding them. While sympathy may involve offering comfort or support, it lacks the depth of emotional connection and understanding inherent in empathy.

It’s important for leaders to distinguish between empathy and sympathy because the two approaches can lead to very different outcomes in terms of relationship-building, team dynamics, and organizational culture.

  • Relationship-building: Empathy fosters deeper connections and rapport between leaders and team members by demonstrating genuine understanding and support. It builds trust and mutual respect, creating a positive and supportive work environment where team members feel valued and heard. In contrast, sympathy may come across as superficial or insincere, potentially undermining trust and credibility.
  • Team dynamics: Empathetic leaders create a culture of openness, collaboration, and psychological safety where team members feel comfortable expressing themselves and sharing their ideas and concerns. By understanding and validating their team’s emotions and experiences, leaders can effectively address challenges, resolve conflicts, and foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Sympathy, on the other hand, may lead to a more passive or detached approach to leadership, resulting in missed opportunities for connection and collaboration.
  • Organizational culture: Empathy is a cornerstone of a healthy and inclusive organizational culture, where diversity, equity, and inclusion are valued and celebrated. Empathetic leaders actively seek to understand and address the unique needs and perspectives of their team members, promoting fairness, respect, and empathy throughout the organization. In contrast, sympathy may perpetuate paternalistic or hierarchical dynamics, where leaders offer superficial gestures of support without truly understanding or addressing the underlying issues.

Both empathy and sympathy involve acknowledging and responding to the emotions and experiences of others, empathy goes beyond surface-level understanding to create deeper connections, foster collaboration, and promote a positive organizational culture. By cultivating empathy in leadership, leaders can build stronger relationships, enhance team dynamics, and create inclusive and supportive workplaces where everyone can thrive.

What are some practical strategies or exercises that leaders can employ to cultivate and enhance their empathetic skills?

I’d like to offer these four strategies/exercises leaders can employ to cultivate/enhance their empathetic skills:

  • Mindfulness Practices: Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine to cultivate self-awareness and empathy. Set aside time for reflection, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to tune into your own emotions and experiences. By developing greater self-awareness, you can become more attuned to the emotions and needs of others.
  • Storytelling: Share personal stories or anecdotes that illustrate moments of empathy or understanding in your own life. Reflect on how these experiences shaped your perspective and approach to leadership. Storytelling can be a powerful tool for building connection and empathy with others.
  • Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from your team members, colleagues, or mentors on your empathetic skills. Invite honest and constructive feedback on how you can improve your listening, communication, and understanding of others. Use this feedback as an opportunity for growth and development.
  • Practice Empathetic Leadership: Lead by example and demonstrate empathy in your interactions with others. Show genuine care and concern for your team members’ well-being, acknowledge their emotions and experiences, and offer support and encouragement when needed. By embodying empathetic leadership, you can inspire and empower others to do the same.

How can empathy help leaders navigate the complexities of leading diverse teams and ensure inclusivity?

Empathy plays a crucial role in helping leaders navigate the complexities of leading diverse teams and ensuring inclusivity in several ways:

  • Understanding Diverse Perspectives: Empathy allows leaders to understand and appreciate the diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds of their team members. By putting themselves in the shoes of others, leaders can gain insight into the unique challenges, opportunities, and needs of individuals from different cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and personal backgrounds.
  • Building Trust and Rapport: Empathetic leaders build trust and rapport with their team members by demonstrating genuine care, understanding, and respect for their diverse identities and experiences. When team members feel valued, heard, and respected, they are more likely to trust their leaders, communicate openly, and collaborate effectively.
  • Fostering Psychological Safety: Empathy creates a sense of psychological safety within diverse teams, where individuals feel comfortable expressing themselves, sharing their ideas, and taking risks without fear of judgment or reprisal. When leaders demonstrate empathy and understanding, they create a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone’s contributions are valued and respected.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Addressing Bias: Empathetic leaders are better equipped to resolve conflicts and address bias within diverse teams. By listening to all perspectives, acknowledging different viewpoints, and facilitating open and honest dialogue, leaders can identify and address underlying issues, foster mutual understanding, and promote equity and fairness.
  • Promoting Inclusive Practices: Empathy helps leaders identify and address barriers to inclusivity within their teams and organizations. By understanding the experiences and needs of underrepresented or marginalized groups, leaders can implement policies, practices, and initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as unconscious bias training, flexible work arrangements, and mentorship programs.
  • Encouraging Collaboration and Innovation: Empathetic leaders create a culture of collaboration and innovation within diverse teams by valuing and leveraging the unique perspectives, skills, and experiences of all team members. By fostering a sense of belonging and mutual respect, leaders inspire creativity, problem-solving, and innovation, leading to better outcomes for the whole organization.

In a nutshell, empathy is essential for leaders to navigate the complexities of leading diverse teams and ensuring inclusivity. By understanding, respecting, and valuing the diverse identities and experiences of their team members, leaders can build trust, foster psychological safety, resolve conflicts, promote inclusive practices, and encourage collaboration and innovation, ultimately leading to stronger, more resilient, and more successful teams and organizations.


Based on your experience and research, can you please share “5 Ways Empathy Will Affect Your Leadership”?

Here are five ways empathy affects my leadership, with examples for each:

  1. Enhances Communication: Empathy improves communication by fostering understanding, trust, and rapport between our leaders and team members. As leaders, when we demonstrate empathy, we create a safe and supportive environment where team members feel heard, valued, and respected.

Example: A leader noticed that a team member seemed disengaged during team meetings. Instead of assuming the worst, the leader approached the team member with empathy and curiosity. They discovered that the team member was struggling with personal challenges outside of work, which were affecting their performance. By listening empathetically and offering support, the leader helped the team member feel understood and valued, ultimately improving communication and morale within the team.

2. Strengthens Relationships: Empathy strengthens relationships by building trust, connection, and mutual respect between leaders and team members. When leaders demonstrate empathy, they create a sense of camaraderie and belonging within their teams, leading to stronger and more resilient relationships.

Example: A leader noticed tension and conflict arising between two team members. Instead of ignoring the issue or taking sides, the leader approached the situation with empathy and compassion. Facilitating a constructive dialogue between the two team members, encouraging them to share their perspectives and feelings openly. Through empathetic listening and understanding, the leader helped the team members find common ground and resolve their differences, strengthening their relationship in the process.

3. Fosters Collaboration: Empathy fosters collaboration by encouraging teamwork, cooperation, and mutual support among team members. When leaders demonstrate empathy, they create an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas, seeking feedback, and working together towards common goals.

Example: A leader observed that their team was struggling to collaborate effectively on a project. Instead of imposing strict deadlines and mandates, the leader approached the situation with empathy and flexibility. They encouraged open communication and brainstorming sessions, where team members could share their ideas and concerns freely. Through empathetic leadership and collaboration, the team was able to overcome obstacles, leverage each other’s strengths, and achieve success together.

4. Promotes Innovation: Empathy promotes innovation by encouraging creativity, problem-solving, and out-of-the-box thinking among team members. When leaders demonstrate empathy, they create a culture where diverse perspectives and ideas are valued and encouraged, leading to innovative solutions and breakthroughs.

Example: A leader noticed that a team was stuck in a rut, struggling to come up with new ideas for a product launch. Instead of pressuring the team to brainstorm on their own, the leader approached the situation with empathy and curiosity. Organizing a creative workshop to explore different perspectives, share insights, and collaborate on innovative solutions. Through empathetic leadership and creative thinking, the team was able to generate fresh ideas and approaches, leading to a successful product launch.

5. Drives Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: Empathy drives employee engagement and satisfaction by creating a positive and supportive work environment where team members feel valued, motivated, and fulfilled. When leaders demonstrate empathy, they show that they care about our team members’ well-being, leading to higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment.

Example: A leader noticed that a team was experiencing burnout and low morale due to heavy workloads and tight deadlines. Instead of ignoring the issue or dismissing their concerns, the leader approached the situation with empathy and compassion. Organizing team-building activities, wellness workshops, and one-on-one check-ins to support the team members’ mental and emotional well-being. Through empathetic leadership and support, the team felt valued and appreciated, leading to increased engagement, productivity, and satisfaction.

Therefore, empathy absolutely affects leadership in profound ways, enhancing communication, strengthening relationships, fostering collaboration and innovation, and driving employee engagement and satisfaction. By cultivating empathy in our leadership approach, our leadership creates positive and supportive work environments where everyone can thrive and succeed.

Are there potential pitfalls or challenges associated with being an empathetic leader? How can these be addressed?

Yes, there are “potential” pitfalls and challenges associated with being an empathetic leader. Here are some common ones and strategies to address them:

  1. Emotional Exhaustion: Empathetic leaders may experience emotional exhaustion from constantly absorbing and processing the emotions of others. This can lead to burnout and diminished capacity to support their teams effectively.

Addressing Strategy: Practice self-care and set boundaries to prevent burnout. Engage in activities that recharge and rejuvenate you, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones. Delegate tasks and responsibilities, when possible, to avoid taking on too much.

2. Overidentification: Empathetic leaders may overidentify with their team members’ emotions, leading to bias or favoritism in decision-making. They may also struggle to maintain objectivity and make tough decisions when necessary.

Addressing Strategy: Maintain perspective and objectivity by seeking diverse viewpoints and input from others. Encourage open dialogue and constructive feedback within your team. Take time to reflect on your own biases and assumptions, and strive to make decisions based on fairness, consistency, and the organization’s best interests.

3. Boundary Setting: Empathetic leaders may struggle to set boundaries with team members, leading to blurred lines between professional and personal relationships. This can hinder effective leadership and create confusion or dependency among team members.

Addressing Strategy: Clearly communicate expectations and boundaries with your team members. Encourage open communication about work-related issues while maintaining appropriate professional boundaries. Provide support and guidance when needed, but also empower team members to take ownership of their work and decisions.

4. Conflict Management: Empathetic leaders may avoid or struggle with conflict management due to a desire to maintain harmony and avoid hurting others’ feelings. This can lead to unresolved conflicts and tension within the team.

Addressing Strategy: Develop conflict resolution skills and strategies to address conflicts constructively. Foster open communication and encourage team members to express their concerns and viewpoints respectfully. Act as a mediator when necessary, facilitating dialogue and finding mutually acceptable solutions.

5. Decision-Making: Empathetic leaders may find it challenging to make tough decisions that have a significant impact on their team members’ lives or well-being. They may hesitate or delay decisions out of fear of causing harm or disappointment.

Addressing Strategy: Balance empathy with decisiveness by considering the broader organizational goals and impacts of your decisions. Seek input and advice from trusted colleagues or mentors to gain perspective and clarity. Communicate transparently with your team about the reasons behind your decisions and provide support and guidance throughout the process.

While empathy is a valuable trait for leaders, it’s essential to be aware of the potential pitfalls and challenges associated with it. By practicing self-awareness, setting boundaries, developing conflict resolution skills, and balancing empathy with decisiveness, leaders can navigate these challenges effectively and lead with compassion and effectiveness.

Off-topic, but I’m curious. As someone steering the ship, what thoughts or concerns often keep you awake at night? How do those thoughts influence your daily decision-making process?

What often keeps me awake at night is the ever-evolving landscape of our industry and the dynamic challenges it presents. As a leader, I’m constantly pondering how to steer our ship through these changes while ensuring we remain competitive in the market. Additionally, I’m deeply committed to the growth and development of our team members, as well as expanding our market share within the training and education sector.

These thoughts heavily influence my daily decision-making process. I prioritize staying informed about industry trends and emerging technologies, allowing me to anticipate changes and proactively adapt our strategies. I also place a strong emphasis on investing in our team’s professional development, empowering them with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the evolving landscape effectively.

Furthermore, I’m constantly exploring innovative ways to differentiate our offerings and deliver greater value to our clients. By staying agile and responsive to market demands, we can position ourselves for sustained growth and success in the long term. Ultimately, my nightly reflections serve as a catalyst for strategic thinking and action, guiding our decisions to ensure we remain resilient and competitive in an ever-changing business environment.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could start a movement, it would tackle the unacceptable reality of homelessness amidst the abundance of resources in our nation. Here’s the vision:

  1. Transforming Vacant Buildings: We can leverage the abundance of empty buildings to provide immediate, sustainable housing for the homeless population. This wouldn’t just address the urgent need for shelter but also revitalize neglected areas within communities.
  2. Reintegration Through Skills: The renovation of buildings process could offer valuable job opportunities. By matching the skills of the homeless population with tasks like landscaping, painting, plumbing, and handy work, or other trade skills, we create a path towards self-sufficiency and rebuild a sense of purpose.
  3. Empowering Ex-Inmates: Building on this foundation, platforms like Derek Automotive, an innovative electric vehicle company, offers exciting possibilities. Their “Uber-like” app for electric car deliveries can provide ex-inmates with business ownership opportunities, fostering long-term financial stability and societal contribution.
  4. Prioritizing Mental Health: We need to recognize the crucial need of mental health support within the prison system. My movement advocates for increased resources and targeted rehabilitation programs to address the root causes of incarceration for many individuals. This includes access to mental health professionals and meaningful reintegration programs.

By combining these initiatives, we can create a ripple effect of positive change. Vacant buildings are transformed into homes, skills are relearned and utilized, ex-inmates are empowered to become business owners, and the cycle of incarceration fueled by mental health issues is addressed. This comprehensive approach has the potential to uplift not only the homeless population but also ex-inmates, ultimately leading to a safer and more just society.

How can our readers further follow you online?

They simply go to: for all my social media, tv show, and other pertinent information or go to my website at:

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.