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  • Writer's pictureBrian Fanzo

2 Changes Leaders Must Make To Lead With Empathy

I’ve spent the majority of my career saying I’ve wanted to be a speaker for the rest of my life, but what does that mean? 

For me, it’s clear: I want to help develop empathetic people (and leaders) in a world full of technology and innovation. 

Most people would say that you can have one side but not the other. You can be empathetic but not innovative or vice versa. I would argue the magic happens when the two sides intersect and there is an understanding of the roles of each side plays.

I use marketing as a way to teach leaders of major brands empathy and the role it plays in their success. No longer can these leaders focus on just the technology and innovation as a way to connect with their audience, they must also be empathetic and authentic.

It’s important to remember that failure is not necessary and that if you go into a project expecting failure and looking for it - you will find it. Pressing the Damn Button and understanding that Perfection is a fairytale encourages you that you have to start to be successful, not fail. Once you start doing things, you can learn from them and create a strategy. Leaning on the “inevitability” of failure can be a crutch that keeps you from being successful. Instead, you must focus on two things that will make you more empathetic and, in turn, more successful.

1. You Must Become Self-Aware

I’ve always said WE>ME, but for this to work, you have to be the best “me” you can be. To be the best you, you have to understand who you are, how you work and what you’re good at.

When I was younger, I got picked on for an array of things that were out of my control. Things like the fact that I spoke quickly, I was too emotional, or I was interested in everything and the “jack of all trades, master of none”. These were all traits that made me different from my peers. 

Today, these are traits that make me successful and it’s because I’ve recognized them, honed in on them and owned them. 

I learned to shift my perspective on the things that made me different to make them my superpower.

2.  You Have to be Vulnerable

To be empathetic means to recognize and share the feelings of others.

Empathy Starts With ME Quote Brian Fanzo

It’s not enough to understand what someone is feeling, you must understand where they are coming from and how they got to that feeling. 

When you allow your vulnerabilities to show while being empathetic, they become the glue people attach to.

One of my idols, Brene Brown said that

“the purpose of life is connection and connection can only happen as a result of authenticity.”

Authenticity is founded on our ability to be vulnerable.

It’s important to note - you cannot truly be vulnerable without being self-aware. 

What does an empathetic leader look like? Human. 

It’s not about open-door policies. Screw the door. Step outside. Show people who you are, what you care about and what makes you successful.

Share these things and you will inspire, educate and motivate the way an empathetic leader does.

Listen to more of my thoughts on episode 098 of my FOMOFanz podcast

If this is a topic you'd like to have me speak about at your upcoming event or association please email my speaker agent at


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