Who are the best leaders? The ones who inspire their teams to achieve greatness? What qualities do these leaders have? In the corporate world, it can seem that there is a disconnect between management and the employees. But what if we told you there was a better way? We spoke with Wade Thomas about the most important leadership qualities: empathy and compassion. Why are these attributes so vital, and how can you apply them in your own leadership?
Watch our podcast with Wade Thomas to learn the value of using compassion and empathy to show up as your best leader self:
Wade Thomas is the founder and principal of Aim to Win, a consultancy focused on bringing out the best in high performing individuals, teams, and organizations. Wade has over 20 years of experience in leadership and talent management areas, most recently as the Chief Human Resources Officer for Meritage Homes Corporation. A graduate of Stetson University, he also has an MBA from Indiana University and further executive education from the University of Michigan. He is a true business consultant who believes that championship level individuals and organizations thrive as a result of strategically leveraging their strengths, developing strong habits, and navigating interpersonal dynamics.
Kicking off our discussion, Wade reveals how he developed his heart-centered approach to leadership, and how how he started Aim to Win. As Wade describes, after college, he got a job in Human Resources at a good company. However, he didn’t agree with the training the pitted him (with H.R.) against the workers. He didn’t see the workers as a monolith; they were individuals with names and skills and values. Wade’s approach ended up being a more human one, treating them with empathy and compassion.
Wade explores how working in Human Resources has defined his approach to coaching and leadership. Those who have worked in this department are aware of the role H.R. plays in a company and who it ultimately serves. While Wade learned a lot from his work in Human Resources, he also developed a fresh perspective of his own.
Through most of his career, Wade has been committed to bringing compassion and empathy to leadership. On our podcast, he explains how these two attributes help leaders in daily situations. Indeed, they help leaders connect with their team members, and they help the team members feel more empowered to do well and push the organization further forward. It’s a win for everyone. Wade also talks about his heart-based culture process. He defines what it is and shares how it creates a sustainable competitive advantage.
From how Wade describes it, it seems so natural and even obvious to bring empathy and compassion in your leadership. So why, then, are empathy and compassion so rarely emphasized in our conceptions of leadership? Wade offers his ideas on that here, from our work culture to how leadership is portrayed in media. He also posits how that can change.
We end our conversation with Wade’s message to someone aspiring to a leadership role in their organization.
Listen to our conversation with Wade about how you can grow as a leader by bringing empathy and compassion:
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