How to Mindfully Lead Change

Empathy in leadership

In this thought-provoking video, KPCB* partner John Maeda reminds us of the importance of empathy in leadership. He suggests that leadership is a design problem, and notes that the best design comes from people who ask and listen before putting forward their ideas.

Mindful leaders are, by nature, empathetic. They know that failing to listen first creates irrelevant communications and misunderstood gestures from leaders. As John Maeda says, “The people are there in the room, but nobody’s hearing what you say.”

Connect more meaningfully

To connect meaningfully to their followers, mindful leaders let go of themselves and “walk in the shoes” of their followers. With the insights and perspectives they gain, they are better able to recast and retell their stories in ways that connect with their followers.

This is especially important when the leader needs to introduce significant organizational change, for example when the organization seeks to become a meaningful brand. This is a transformation that needs to run deep within the organization, so as to ensure optimal alignment around the brand’s purposeful promise. As such, it behooves the leaders to help each employee understand, from their own perspective, why it makes sense for them to help the brand generate more meaning through its behavior.

This can only happen when mindful leaders use empathy and engage in “storylistening” before “storytelling”.

To view “From Storytelling to Storylistening: John Maeda”, please click the following link:


Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers is a client of Emotive Brand.

Emotive Brand is a brand strategy firm.

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