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Empathy and Leadership with Mark Bray

Updated: Apr 22

The Empathy Podcast

Show Notes/Timestamps


In this episode of The Professional Empathy Podcast, Leanne welcomes Mark Bray to discuss empathy in leadership. Together, they analyze the meaning of empathy, and Mark shares strategies on ways to implement it in the workplace.

[02:14] Mark presents his interpretation of leadership. He defines it as one who inspires people to do better to give them a purpose to improve delivery which in turn results in benefiting the company. He acknowledges the reality of people not wanting to go to their jobs and sets out for a possible solution.

[05:36] Mark shares his perspective on empathy and how that fits into leadership. He reports it as a requirement. Mark points out that (for the most part) the best leaders are those who have gone through battles in their life because it gives them a point of view they otherwise wouldn’t have. He continues by emphasizing the three bedrocks in leadership: consistency, decision making, and empathy.

[10:08] Mark shares the significance of being a leader with empathy; he points out the correlation between bad leaders and those who are non-empathetic. He goes on to discuss the common custom of putting clients before people/employees and contradicts that notion. Mark believes that businesses that put their people first directly reflect onto the clients and encourage better performance.

[18:12] Improving empathy in the workplace has become a key ingredient to creating a good work environment; Mark gives his insight into achieving that. He underlines that a lot of it comes from experience but points out that the most important part is to listen. Listen to understand and to connect. A caveat of this is that you slowly have to earn their trust.

[25:00] Mark dissects performance reviews and their extraneous nature. He signifies how it mainly builds tension and takes away from the overall goal. Essentially, people want to feel important and respected, so he feels performance reviews are mostly a distraction.

[31:38] Mark shares digestible tips on ways people can implement empathy in their daily lives. He emphasizes treating people like they are human and meeting them at an equal level.

[41:55] Outro


● “Leadership, from my point of view, is to enable people to do what they are passionate about.”

● “Empathy is about leading people through their eyes.”

● “We (most of the time) listen to answer, we don’t listen to understand.”

● “If people aren’t engaged then how can they engage our clients?”

Key Talking Points:

● What does leadership mean?

● Where does empathy fit in with leadership?

● Bad leaders relating to non-empathy

● How do you improve empathy in the workplace?

● The most powerful word in the world

Episode Link


Hi! I'm Leanne Butterworth, Empathy Speaker and Educator, University Lecturer and Mental Health Advocate.

Empathy First is a Brisbane-based social enterprise offering Empathy workshops, online courses and individual Empathy coaching to help you build connection and strengthen your relationships for personal and professional success.

Contact me today and let's talk about how you can put Empathy First.

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