With honesty and humility, Sanders describes how she came to recognize her own shortcomings as a leader and face hard truths head-on. She takes us on her journey of self-awareness, sharing vital lessons about listening, gaining perspective, and building trust. With real stories of real people who overcame tough situations at work, Sanders shows how leaders can provide positive and meaningful feedback. Each chapter ends with key takeaways that you can try today to enhance your leadership skills and transform your company’s culture, whether you’re a seasoned leader or new to a management role.
Accomplishing business goals and caring for people are not mutually exclusive. Empathy is one of the best leadership skills and emotional intelligence traits, and great leaders are willing to share their emotions and feelings with others, and allow them to share theirs. When you’re a champion for your team, raise them up, believe them, and believe in them, you empower them to perform their best.
The existential crisis we live in today necessitates a more empathetic leadership style. The challenge I’ve seen is how to blend empathy with setting clear expectations and holding people accountable. Loren Sanders breaks down into clear, practical, and actionable steps how to develop greater empathy for others. What’s most refreshing is she does it by sharing stories of how she first learned these lessons—by failing, staying curious, being able to self-reflect, and committing to lifelong learning. This is the path for deep personal growth for all of us and now we have a roadmap that can help us build a very critical skill we need more and more these days.
It’s estimated that less than half of leaders regularly access empathy. In the general population, I would expect that number to be even lower. Empathy is Not a Weakness will help us address this systemic problem. As author of Leading Below the Surface, a book where empathy is front and center, I am so happy to see this book come to fruition. Loren starts the book off with a vulnerable story about one of her direct reports resigning. She is soon blindsided and realizes that her own lack of empathy is destroying relationships. Loren then presents other scenarios, stories, and practices that will help us further understand and access empathy on a regular basis, so we don’t make the same mistakes that she did. I recommend this book—especially for people who are looking to deepen their own ability to empathize on a regular basis.
am thankful that Loren Sanders and I crossed paths at a training industry conference three years ago. She is a positive and insightful force in our profession. Loren truly exemplifies why empathy is not a weakness. Her incredibly personal story of how she came to empathy is representative of the journey many of us take in the workplace. We are valued for our ability to get results and what we can achieve, and like Loren’s direct report, we shove our humanity into the proverbial desk drawer, file cabinet, and bookshelves— until we are confronted with the reality that our work self is incongruent with the leader, colleague, human we want to be. Loren’s wakeup call will likely feel familiar for a lot of us—it did for me— and I wish I had her seven practices of empathy when I was confronted with similar moments in my career. As the title implies, empathy is not a weakness but rather a superpower for colleagueship, allyship, and leadership. In a time in which the world says ‘the robots are coming,’ Loren’s books and the stories within are a clarion call that it is our humanity that will save us. Bravo Loren.