Below is a short discussion inspired by Claude Silver's article from The Silver Ling Podcast.
There’s more to leadership than just giving your team direction. A leader is also responsible for creating an environment that encourages people to evolve, explore curiosities and constantly improve. When you conduct yourself with empathy, persistence, and authenticity, you can be a leader who inspires performance and invites this growth.
In this episode of The Silver Lining, Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer of VaynerX, talks about the characteristics of an empathetic, accountable, and authentic leader.
Here’s how we can grow into a role like that:
- Accountability in empathy. When you take accountability for your empathy as a leader, you're making a conscious effort to foster these characteristics every day. This shows your team that you are leading through understanding.
- Persistence and passion. You can be a leader without a title. Passion for leadership is independent of being in a formal position to lead. When you invest in leadership skills regardless of whether you are responsible for a team, you widen your understanding of others and deepen your empathy in the process.
- Authenticity in leadership. Lead in a way that aligns with what feels most natural to you. Don't worry about how you look to other people. When you carry yourself from a place of truth, you encourage others to do the same. You can bring out the best in people by letting them be themselves.
People, at the end of the day, just want to work, grow, and improve. The best you can do as a leader is to create an environment where they feel safe to do that. When you hold yourself accountable for your empathy, continuously invest in your own growth, and lead with authenticity, you can make this a reality.
the distilld lessons
Here are the distilld lessons from The Silver Lining Podcast episode, "Yes, I belong here".
Claude Silver is the first Chief Heart Officer in the world. Her mission is to cultivate emotional optimism in the world. She works alongside Gary Vaynerchuk to shape the culture of VaynerX.
Claude defines an empathetic person as a passenger to someone’s journey. A passenger doesn’t take control of the wheel nor do they try to change the direction of the car. They just ride alongside, observing and holding space.
Take empathy a step further by taking accountability for it. These are characteristics that you can actively cultivate through consciousness practice.
When you're empathetic, you make others feel heard and seen. And when you take accountability for fostering empathy, you ensure that your team can experience this form of support consistently.
Being an empathetic leader doesn't require a title. It starts and ends with our own commitment to holding space for others and living in alignment with our own values.
Claude became a Chief Heart Officer after 20+ years of showing up in her previous roles 100% authentically. She embodied the qualities of her role long before she had the title.
The passion for leadership is needed in all facets of life. If we can’t lead at work, we can embody the qualities of an empathetic leader anywhere — in our families, with our friends, in our communities.
Continuously invest in your leadership skills regardless of the stage of your professional career. You can't control when you're given an opportunity to formally lead, but you can control if you're as ready as possible.
Don’t lead to inspire. Just lead with purpose; the inspiration will follow. Focus more on what you do and how you do it. Not on how you look to others. When you stay true to yourself, you encourage others to do the same.
People just want a safe space to work, grow, and improve. The best you can do as a leader is to create that place. When you lead with empathy, accountability, and authenticity, you can make that happen.
- Hold space for people. When you're listening, listen. Don't judge, don't react, don't try to solve problems. Just be the vessel through which people can authentically share.
- Let people be themselves around you. Lead with your own vulnerable authenticity to show those around you that they should behave in no other way than what is uniquely them.
- Lead without a title. Empathetic leadership is not conditional on having a title. If these qualities align with you, invest in honing them regardless of what role, job or title you currently have. This is true authentic leadership.
For a more in depth conversation, the distilld lessons (extended) are here.