Episode 71: Empathy as a Skill

Decades of declining empathy levels and skyrocketing levels of burnout and loneliness have left organizations disconnected, anxiety ridden and suffering in ways that contribute to low morale and high absenteeism. Too many of us have forgotten that human understanding is the core of all success. Whether we’re leading ourselves, others or organizations, cultivating the mindset and skill of empathy helps us all thrive.

Mimi Nicklin is the internationally bestselling author of Softening the Edge, the host of the Empathy for Breakfast Show podcast, the founder of Empathy Everywhere, the world’s first empathy platform, the CEO of the world’s most free advertising agency, Freedm.

If you enjoy the show, please rate it on Spotify or iTunes and write a one-sentence review. Your ratings and reviews help more people like you discover the podcast!

Episode Highlights


What links infinite growth of material consumption and empathy


Regenerative leadership


Balancing capitalism and humanism


How to move from responding to listening


The extent of human disconnectedness today


(Re)connecting with people is a choice


Making time to connect. How much time is needed


What we can learn from Zulu greetings


Mimi's story of creating an "empathy advantage"


The paradox of adding distance to build empathy


Using empathy to balance conflicting team needs


Links between creativity and empathy


Using empathy to deepen client relationships


The role of self-empathy

Mimi’s view on the greatest unmet wellbeing need at work today

“Ageism, because I think whether you're very young or on the top end of your career, there are very little systems and support...people that are 45-plus. The impact of that is huge and vast, all the way to people that are committing suicide, because they are horrendously thrown out when they turned 50. And nobody wants them anymore, particularly in creative industries, where where we tend to skew young. So I would say that the biggest impact on on workplaces from a wellness point of view is an inability to really understand the 'aging employee.'

And there is so much we could be using [their] experiences for in a way that creates more wellness, for them, and for everyone that gets to learn and grow and experience them. And instead, we are incredibly bad at integrating that we're incredibly bias and discriminatory and quite segregated.”

What “working with humans” means to Mimi

“The ability to work alongside our shared humanity, recognizing that we're all far more alike than we are different. And, we're people first. We are all human beings. There is a hugely innate amount of our being that is exactly the same well before we decipher, or define ourselves as one role or one skill set versus another. So, for me working with humans just means that we're working with people just like us.”


Follow Mimi: Empathy Everywhere and Freedm
Read: Softening the Edge
Listen: Empathy for Breakfast Show

Michael Glazer is the creator and host of Humans At Work. His purpose in life is to make well-being at work a globally-accepted, basic human right. Learn more about Michael here.