In this episode of The Silver Lining, digital agency firm VaynerX’s Chief Heart Officer Claude Silver talks about the role of empathy, persistence, and authenticity in being a leader.
Read this if...
• You want to develop your leadership skills
• You want to become a more empathetic person
• You are in a leadership role and you want to improve morale in your group
Claude Silver is the first ever Chief Heart Officer, under multi-million marketing agency VaynerMedia. She has nearly 20 years of experience in advertising agencies, assisting Fortune 50 companies in building their brand strategies, client relationships, operation, and management.
the distilld lessons (extended)
There’s more to leadership than telling others to get work done. Any boss can assign deliverables and set meetings. A leader creates a space that brings the best out of people and pushes them to improve. When we conduct ourselves with empathy, persistence, and authenticity, we too can be a leader who inspires performance and invites growth.
In this episode of The Silver Lining, VaynerX Chief Heart Officer Claude Silver talks about practicing empathy with accountability, how to integrate it in leadership, and how to use it to shape the workplace.
Here are the distilld lessons:
1. Be accountable for your empathy
Claude defines an empathetic person as a passenger to someone’s journey. A passenger doesn’t assume control of the wheel, nor does he try to redirect the course. He’s simply there, accompanying, holding the space he was entrusted.
Empathy occurs through a conscious effort of connection and understanding. It’s when we’re able to tell someone, “I get you”, or “I understand what you’re going through.” We don’t assume control over their lives. We simply let them feel heard and validated.
Claude tells us to take it a step further. We should also be accountable for our empathy, so we can give it meaning. It’s one thing to ride next to another person, and it’s another to take ownership of how we’re acting as a passenger.
When we are accountable for our empathy, we don’t stop at “I get you”, we follow with “I got you.” We complete “I understand what you’re going through” with “I’m here to help”. When we’re empathetic, we let others feel heard and validated. And when we take accountability of our empathy, we make them feel safe and secure.
We can bring out the best in people by letting them be themselves. Everyone brings unique ideas and perspectives to the table. When we take accountability for our empathy as leaders, we can foster an environment where others are comfortable to voice out opinions, make mistakes, and grow at their own pace.
2. Be persistent in the process
No matter how bad you want the position, sometimes there are too many leaders, and not enough leadership roles. Claude says that this is no reason to give up. She found her fulfilling role as Chief Heart Officer after 20 years in the industry. These things take time.
We must remain patient and persistent in pursuing our leadership goals. If we can’t lead at work, we can still lead our family to a cleaner living room, or lead our friends in planning a holiday get-together. We’re not just needed at work. We’re needed everywhere.
When we commit to expanding our knowledge and to developing our leadership skills, regardless of where we are or what we do, the opportunity to lead will eventually arise. An expanding global economy and a rapid pace of technological advancement will ensure that.
When we go through the process, we can empathize better with those who’ll work under us and give them the guidance they need. We can be good passengers, and even better leaders.
3. Be straightforward in leadership
Authenticity and straightforwardness are at the core of Claude’s leadership philosophy. She doesn’t consciously set out to inspire people. She just tries to be the best person she can be, and leave as much positive impact as she can on the world.
Be straightforward and authentic in leadership. Focus more on what you do and less on how you look. When we stay true to ourselves, we can encourage others to do the same. We can take accountability of our empathy by being vulnerable with others.
People, at the end of the day, just want to work, grow, and improve. The best we can do as leaders is to create an environment where people feel safe to do that. When we lead with empathy, accountability, and authenticity, we make that possible.
For a shorter conversation, the distilld lessons summary are here.