Lessons in Leadership – Week 3 – Senator Adam Pugh

Senator Pugh mentioned several valuable leadership points to examine. Yet he considers empathy to be one of the most vital skills/characteristic of a leader. What can you work on or practice to become a more empathetic leader?


  • Mackenzie Goings

    Empathy is something that I strive for on a daily basis. I believe that understanding what others are going through is crucial to being an effective leader. Although I like to think that I am an empathetic leader, I know that there are things that I need to work on. The hardest part about practicing empathy is putting your own problems aside to really listen to others and what they are going through. Another thing that I need to work on is remembering that everyone has different points of view that will not always match up with mine. One of my favorite quotes that I have come across is “Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.”

  • Paighton Barnes

    In theories in leadership, we had an assignment where we asked people in our lives to rate how we are on certain leadership traits. My lowest was sensitivity and my second lowest was empathy, so it is something I really need to work on. I am someone who strives to get as much done as quickly as possible on a certain goal and will let nothing get in my way, even if it was a time where I should have been empathetic. In order to become more empathetic, I need to start taking the time to listen to others regardless of if I am in a leadership position or not. I’ve noticed that when I take the time to listen, I become extremely empathetic. My issues with being empathetic relate more to me refusing to take the time to listen. Sometimes I need to slow down and hear people out because I cannot lead if I don’t listen to the feelings, thoughts and concerns of the people I am leading.

  • Kyia Woodson

    When we were asked to take the strengths finders test, I was very curious as to what powerful strength I represented the most. However, empathy was my first strength and I would have never considered empathy a strength rather just a personality trait I had. After Senator Pugh spoke to us, I realized empathy was a much greater strength than I could’ve imagined. I believe I am a rather empathetic person but I always try to make strides to better understand where people are coming from. I think if we would all just sit down and listen to each other issues in this world instead of being so quick to judge the person for having any issues at all we would be better off.

  • Jayden Garner

    Senator Pugh laid down a powerful speech. I understand that to be a leader you have to have empathy towards others. Being there for someone who needs it the most and being allowed to step in their shoes and help them out is probably one of the biggest tools a leader can have. I could work on just kinda having a feeling or a sense that someone is feeling bad or stressed out about something and helping them out because not all people like to talk about their feelings they just hold them in and no one ever is ever there to help them so it just keeps getting worse. I want to be there for anyone who needs it about anything and I want to be able to relate or understand where they come from because everyone has bad days and everyone grows up with something that affects them growing up and I want to be that guy that someone can go to if they are feeling low or just need to get something off their chest.

  • Beyonce Hammond

    I have always been highly aware that I am not an empathetic leader. I consider that one of my biggest faults. However, I have always strived to hear out others and listen. Being empathetic for me means making the conscious decision to step out of my safe bubbles. It’s really easy nowadays to surround yourself with people who look like you, think like you, and vote like you. It’s not hard but uncomfortable to be around people who are the opposite of you. Nonetheless, that’s how you become a more empathetic leader learning from those who are different from you.

  • Savana McCabe

    When Senator Pugh prompted us to write our definition of leadership, empathy was one of the first words that appeared in my definition, and though I included this word in my definition, I don’t often actively think about applying that quality in every situation. To be a more empathetic leader, the first thing I will focus on is listening. I love to talk, and I usually have a lot to say, but one of the most important aspects of being empathetic is the ability to listen effectively. When listening to others, I will focus on listening to understand their point of view rather that find a way to work in what I want to say. Another way I want to work to be a more empathetic leader is to make sure I am actively and effectively listening to a variety of people. Many people have similar feelings about certain topics, but many people also have diverging feelings and experiences regarding that same hypothetical topic. When I work to listen and be empathetic towards many different people with different feelings and experiences, that will help me to grow my ability to be empathetic because it will give me a broader scope of experiences and feelings to understand and recognize.

  • Trinity Major

    To my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Pugh’s lecture. There was a lot that he said that really spoke to me and my ideals. While listening I realized that there are things that I still need to work on as a leader. I know for most people, especially for myself, they don’t like looking at the past especially when its riddled with pain and mistakes, but something Pugh brought up was learning from our past. Weather that be looking back at bad leaders in our lives and making sure not to take their same path, or looking back at our mistakes and accepting that they’ve helped us become who we are today. I want to take hold of my past and gain from it. Instead of allowing myself to fall because i’m too busy looking back at whats already happened.

  • Josh Reynolds

    I am a very empathetic leader, but sometimes I slip up when I am frustrated. There are a couple of ways I can make sure to keep my cool when I feel like I am being ignored. I have actually started to meditate, so I have been learning to keep a calm mind and not be so spastic to speak my mind without listening to others. Another skill I am working on is instead of promoting my own ideas, I am supporting others and finding a happy medium.

  • McKenzie Bookout

    Senator Pugh said that empathy is the most vital thing to have as a leader. Empathy is being able to understand others, and using that understanding to help yourself and others grow. For me, I need to be better at realizing that I can learn from bad leaders as well. Most of the time, if a bad leader is put in my path, I usually will not try and hear out what they are trying to say because they refuse to do the same. Instead, Senator Pugh said we can actually learn valuable lessons from them if we pay attention. Another thing I need to work on is that, as much as I like to, I cannot win everything. Much like Senator Pugh’s experience with losing the House of Representative election that landed his spot now as an Oklahoma senate, I had the same thing happen to me. While making my decision on what college I wanted to attend, cheer leading played a huge deciding factor. I was pretty much dead-set on attending OCU as they gave me a cheer scholarship. However, because they are a private school, it was still too expensive to afford. Shortly after, I received an email saying I got an interview for the Leadership program at UCO. Still not accepting defeat, I did not want to go to the interview, I only wanted to attend OCU. All in all, I am grateful to have decided to go to UCO instead because I got on both LOT and cheer here and absolutely love it. By learning from bad leaders and understanding that I can learn from losing, I can become more of an empathetic leader myself.

  • Victoria Bates

    Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings with another person. Being empathetic not only means you listen to people, but you truly feel what they are feeling, and try to understand their experiences. Becoming more empathetic is something that I have been focusing on for a few months now. I know how important it is to be empathetic as a leader, and I want to be the best leader I can be. To become more empathetic I have been working on my listening skills. Rather than simply listening to someone I really try to digest what they are saying and open up about my own experiences in return. I have found that it is very hard to be empathetic to others when you do not open yourself up to them as well. Another important part of being an empathetic leader is putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes. Maybe I do not understand the issues someone is talking about because they do not relate to my life, but if I look at the issues from their perspective it will often help me understand. Working on listening well and trying to understand what someone is saying from their point of view are both skills that I can work on to become a more empathetic person and leader.

  • Cooper McCoy

    Empathy is such a strong aspect of leadership. Many people miss out on this aspect while leading but it is vital to the people following them. Empathy personally has been something I have learned a lot about coming to college. This is due to the amount of diversity that is shown on this campus. In my hometown there is not much diversity. Many people think, act, and look alike. Meeting people from different cultures has helped me develop my leadership skills by listening to people and empathizing with them. This helps leaders mold themselves to help lead others.

  • To be a more empathetic leader, it is imperative to listen. As Senator Pugh said, we must truly hear people and understand where they are coming from instead of selfishly thinking of our rebuttals while they are speaking. Another practice that helps one to be more empathetic in general is placing themself in another’s shoes — it sounds cliche, but it is the only way to understand how others feel. Finally, a habit that strengthens empathy is reading. One of my most influential English teachers explained that people who read more develop stronger senses of empathy because they continuously put themselves in a character’s situation and understand their feelings from an outside perspective. I think the more cognizant one is about recognizing these practices and trying to implement them into his or her life, the more empathetic of a leader they can be.

  • I have always liked to be around people, and I think that after hearing senator Adam Pugh talk about how being a leader is based on people, it helped me to realize that there’s so much more about being a leader that I didn’t know. Being in these talks with the speakers has really helped me be able to identify different leadership qualities in others and how I can benefit and learn from them. This goes hand in hand with empathy, putting yourself in their shoes, understanding that they have a different leadership style maybe based on their personalities etc. Being okay with it because it can reach other people you may not be able to reach. Hence, this taught me to truly listen and not be prepared to defend myself all the time.

  • Madilyn Rhynes

    The act of being empathetic is very important in a leadership role. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Senator Adam Pugh mentioned to take time and actually listen to others, be empathetic. He also said not to start thinking about what you are going to say next. I feel like this is something I struggle with. I am constantly thinking about what I am going to say next or how I am going to respond to the person I am talking to. I need to really engage and listen when I have a conversation. I need to show empathy and try to understand what others are going through, or what they are currently going through in this crazy time called life. I may not know all about what someone else is going through in life, but that is where it is good to start listening and to show empathy. If you cannot show empathy in a situation, you can always learn and grow. As much as it is important to listen and show empathy to people, it is important to be intentional. A leader is the same person when someone is looking and when someone is not looking. It is important to show empathy and be genuine.

  • Ainsley Martinez

    Empathy requires an open minded mentality; true empathy cannot be achieved without some sort of nonpartisan quality. It’s easy to want an empathic quality as a leader, but as Pugh said it is actually a very difficult quality to carry through. In our polarized state, we as leaders have recognize that issues are very rarely “black and white”. For me, it’s extremely significant to focus on that “gray” area: this is where the most complex of ideas lie. When one recognizes this middle ground then one can truly implement change. That isn’t to say radical ideas are inherently wrong, but that there is a spectrum of ideas that need to be considered. To think critically while also intentionally humbling yourself I think embodies empathy.

  • Angelina Newton

    I definitely agree with Senator Pugh that empathy is one of the most valuable leadership skills to have today. In todays society many differing opinions have emerged freely and not everyone is going to agree with everything. By having empathy, it allows a leader to share a more personal connection along with professional by showing the respect needed for someone else’s feelings. I believe practicing treating someone else as though you would want to be treated is great but while also keeping the other persons emotional state in mind as well. Maybe the way one person wants to be treated is totally different from the perspective of another which is tricky at times. Understanding how a situation may affect various points of views are great ways to engage in a leadership role and enhance empathetic behavior. I myself have been working on empathy by observing other stories and backgrounds while adjusting to college.

  • Kobe Parker

    Well to be more empathetic I feel like one of the first things you need to do is put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You never really know what someone may be going through. After that you can begin to build a common ground to work upon based upon the fact you understand them better. So in everyday life, especially arguments or disagreements, try not to be too quick to shut down your mind. From experience on both sides I’ve learned once you put aside your pride and actually listen it’s easier to communicate. Keep your mind open and be more understanding to EVERYONE around you.

  • Brandy Bohanan

    What I think I could work on or practice working on to become a more empathetic leader is to listen. I have trouble listening to others sometimes and I realize this. I think listening will help me become a better empathetic leader because if you listen then you’re allowing them to know what they say is being heard and it does matter and sometimes what others say could be the better choice or idea of some sort.

  • Caralyne Conley

    I loved Senator Pugh’s speech. It really reminded me of some very important things to leadership and also more of a desire to vote, especially in local elections. I believe to be a more empathetic leader I can focus on letting others have their ideas first, rather than coming to them with an idea and adding on to it, or asking their opinion of my idea. I think this will allow others to be heard and felt appreciated. I hope that this will bring more of an excitement to whatever is being planned, as they will have put in a major input. On top of this, I can continue to be patient with them, and putting myself in their shoes to make sure they are content.

  • Lauren Harman

    Senator Pugh discussed that the most valuable characteristic of a leader is emapthy. I agree with this idea because empathy requires compassion, understanding, and meeting people where they are. Everyone has had their own unique experiences that have shaped them into who they are. It’s necessary to understand that you don’t understand. It’s easy to give your own stories when a friend talks about their struggles. But empathy allows you not to compare the two because it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Great leaders are accepting, loving, and have empathy for others.

  • To become a more empathetic leader, we must seek out education about the group we are wishing to be an example for. Each person In every group has had different experiences, has different ideas, and differ3ent opinions about all kinds of things. In order to be able to truly empathize with an entire group, you must first get to know each individual in the group, specifically their ideas and feelings towards the common goal that you as a leader are trying to create. On a personal level, I need to be more unafraid to get to know others in the UCO community, and be unafraid to ask questions about their experiences and ideas towards the common goal of continuously making UCO better for the community.

  • Mariana Gonzalez

    To be able to be an empathetic leader, you have to know when to just stop and listen. This is something that Senator Pugh talked about when he spoke about having arguments with his wife and I believe that it applies in so many ways. Whenever we are arguing about any topic, we are more often than not thinking about our next move and not listening to what the other person is saying. If we would stop and listen and try to imagine ourselves in their shoes, we can see many times where they are coming from and like Senator Pugh said more often than not we end up having the same goal.

    When it comes to being a leader, this skill is very important to be able to be a effective one. When you are leading, your leading people with a verity of different backgrounds different then your own and with that comes different ideas. This is where empathy is a good skill to have. It is being able to take all those ideas and understanding why people think the way that they do.

  • Thad Williams

    In listening to the speech of Senator Pugh, I was very inspired in his constant work ethic and how well he has done in not only one field of work but multiple. However, as stated in his talk, he claims the most important leadership skill is empathy. The ability to empathize with others is the wrecking ball that can take down barriers between people who may have completely different views and backgrounds. In my walk as a leader, I find that sometimes I look at my answers as the only correct way to do things and in coming from where I come from they may be. As leaders though, we are asked to take a step back and understand that people come from all different upbringings and backgrounds, which in turn will give them a completely different outlook on life. In hopes of being a better leader, I need to do a better job of understanding that being right is less important than empathizing with others and trying to understand things from their point of view. In doing this it will not only broaden my ideas that come from my experiences, but also combine these with ideas that come from realities completely different from mine.

  • Alexia Brown

    As an emphathetic leader, I practice loving and serving people in everyday life. I always make a point to go above and beyond for people that are my friends, am working in a group with, or even strangers on the street. I do this by actually hearing what they are telling me and listening to their struggles to make sure they feel understood. I like to hear people’s stories and experiences so that I can relate to them and keep their feelings in the back of my mind when implementing change. Lastly, I try to be sensitive to people’s perspectives and opinions even if they differ from mine to create a positive and inclusive environment. I am so thankful Senator Pugh hit this concept so hard, because I learn something about myself and how to serve others better each time emphaty is brought up.

  • Lavender Cisneros

    Empathy is vital in making the world a better place. It can stop judgmental thoughts, it can allow us to live in harmony, and it also makes us just a better human being overall. In order to understand people’s actions, thoughts, and way of life, you simply have to put yourself in their shoes. If you step out of your own comfortable space, and learn and listen about the journey of another’s life, it can help build empathy. You become empathetic by understanding and learning about these experiences that may be relatable or not relatable compared to your own. I believe this to be the most efficient way to becoming a more empathetic leader.

  • Taleaha Lee

    Empathy is having the ability to understand those around you. It’s taking the time to LISTEN instead of doing the talking. For me personally, I feel that I could definitely work on finding more opportunities to engage in conversations about the things that need others opinions. Sometimes we need multiple perspectives and not just our own, so I feel that I need to work on asking for that. I need to work on my awareness as an individual of others around me. Having empathy is vital to a leader in so many ways and once you have it it’ll take you to whole new level.

  • Kaylee Abernathy

    I really enjoyed listening to Senator Adam Pugh present. Mr. Pugh made empathetic leaders seem really important. One thing that really caught my eye was when he said “if you do not care about people, you cannot be a leader.” It was very obvious that Mr. Pugh was a very successful man and the reason he got where he is today was because he was simply nice to the guy walking down the hall at his work. That goes to show that a simple act of kindness made such a big difference. Thinking on how to be a better empathetic leader has made me want to be more like Senator Adam Pugh. We need to be a leader by putting people before ourselves and truly doing things for their good, rather than for the applause we would get after. I believe that I could be a more empathetic leader by being that super positive person and bringing everybody up. One thing to really remember is that any small act is going to make a big difference.

  • By definition, to be empathetic means to have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In order to be an empathetic leader, I need to work on my social skills and become a better listener. This would allow me to create deeper relationships with those I may lead. For me, its about being more interested in understanding people rather than being understood. Being an empathetic leader doesn’t happen overnight, but I want to make strides in listening so that I can learn. I don’t want to be put in a position where I make the matter centered around me, but rather the other person. It’s about the other individuals emotional states and experiences. I find that listening would be the greatest practice to acquire in my life for the purpose of being a more empathetic leader.

  • By definition, to be empathetic means to have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In order to be an empathetic leader, I need to work on my social skills and become a better listener. This would allow me to create deeper relationships with those I may lead. For me, its about being more interested in understanding people rather than being understood. Being an empathetic leader doesn’t happen overnight, but I want to make strides in listening so that I can learn. I don’t want to be put in a position where I make the matter centered around me, but rather the other person. It’s about the other individuals emotional states and experiences. I find that listening would be the greatest practice to acquire in my life for the purpose of being a more empathetic leader.

  • Nicole Dirks

    Senator Adam Pugh delivered an amazing speech about his experiences and how he feels about leadership. I found it interesting that he declared empathy to the the most important characteristic of a strong leader, and I agree. As a sensitive person, I feel as though there are times where I try to share others’ emotions too much. However, I do understand why it is essential to understanding the people around you. As a leader, I believe I need to work on being able to control my own emotions when being empathetic. I say this because there are times when I will talk with someone about what they are going through and I will automatically empathize with them; but then I will leave the conversation while continuing to feel those emotions for hours or days. This can be a hindrance to me at times, so I need to work on that.

  • Jasmine Cooper

    Working on being able to understand someone’s situation is a good way to practice empathy. By trying to understand it shows that the listener is actively trying to empathize with the person speaking to them. This makes the speaker feel acknowledge and understood. A good way to practice empathy is to listen to people when they are talking and ask questions. Another way is to put yourself into the person’s shoes. Try to imagine how you would act and understand why the person feels or acts the way they did. These are all ideas to help people practice empathy and be able to empathize with others.

  • Makayla Freeman

    Empathy is important because it makes people feel like you as a leader care. In order to be a more empathetic leader, you need to be openminded and not judgmental. This is something I always try to make sure I practice. I want others to know I will help them with something no matter how big or small. Whether they just need someone to talk to or they need a shoulder to cry on. They first need to know that you will not judge the situation no matter what it is. Something I can work on to improve this is not letting my own emotions or opinions block somebody else’s opinions from being heard whether it be me who needs to hear them or another person.

  • alejandro valdovinos

    Senator Pugh mentioned several valuable leadership points to examine. Yet he considers empathy to be one of the most vital skills/characteristic of a leader. What can you work on or practice to become a more empathetic leader?
    I certainly agree that empathy is one of the most important qualities a leader could have, and to show empathy and be empathetic i think means taking yourself out of your head, understanding they’re a being with an issue and a voice and somehting to say. Ways to work on this is to be selfless, give them an open ear and an open heart and show you truly care. being empathetic is a struggle sometimes because hearing some peoples problems your mind starts to think” oh man this doesn’t seem like a problem at all” but in reality, a struggle is a struggle.

  • Ethan Hodson

    I personally believe that I have a natural quality of empathy in situations. However, sometimes that quality can be diminished when I get put in a leadership position. When it is my ideas or pride on the line, I usually struggle with the consideration of others feeling and experiences. Whenever I am just in the presence of others, I thrive at connecting with the emotional state of others and being available. I think I need to focus on drawing that connection in when I am called to be an influence and important piece of the puzzle.

  • Bellanca Bradley

    Senator Pugh reminded me that empathy plays an important role in being a leader. In order to be empathetic, it is important to be able to be an active listener. In order to be an active listener, you have to get out of your own thoughts and focus on what the other person is saying. Being empathetic is one aspect of myself that I realized I had stopped focusing on. I knew that I needed to be able to empathize with others, but I had forgotten how much focus it requires to be an active listener in order to be empathetic. I realized that I had become so focused on working on other aspects of my life, that I had distracted myself from practicing active listening and, as a result, neglected to be empathetic towards others. Moving forward, in order to work on being a more empathetic leader, I need to practice actively listening more in order to better understand others.

  • Naomi Wharry

    I have been a naturally very empathetic person throughout my life. I often find myself crying for the sorrows of others by simply imagining vividly the amount of pain they must be feeling. I do believe my issue with this is that I often say to myself “I could not imagine if that were ME” but I have noticed that could possibly be something selfish almost. I need to realize that it doe not matter what I would do if it were ME because it is not always about ME. Though this outwardly is seen as a good thing, I know that my mindset behind it must change, because what if I ask myself what I would do if it were me, and I end up not understanding how much of a struggle it may be for the actual person going through it? I certainly want to change this mindset and maybe focus more on listening to that actual person. Perhaps something that seems to be going okay from my perspective is actually tearing them to pieces. Instead of asking myself these questions, I must simply ask them and constantly be examining my thought process and causes for my own actions and emotions.

  • Jayden Marshall

    Senator Pugh had a great speech on leadership skills. Some of the things he said have really stuck with me. One of these things would definitely be empathy. Throughout my life I have consistently tried to work on growing my empathy. I would like to say that I have slowly grown more and more in this skill but I can always grow more. When trying to grow my empathy I focus on a few things. One of the most important things I try to do is make sure I see the other person position. No matter how I feel or what I believe you never know what the other person sees or feels. Another thing that is important to me while growing my empathy ties in with seeing the others person’s side. To see someones side you have to listen to them. I believe to grow empathy you have to listen to others and see their point of view.

  • Jessica Russell

    When we took our leadership quizzes, one of my top leadership qualities was empathy. This makes me happy, because in the past I have not always viewed myself as a top leader because I wasn’t the loudest or most outgoing, I’m actually pretty introverted at times. It was empowering to know that empathy has played such a big role in his life and leadership experiences. I believe the backbone of empathy is understand others perspectives. Every person has a reason they believe the way they do or value the things they do. The more we understand those things, the more we can learn to value others and what they believe in. As we expand our understand and empathy, we cater more to what others need and that is what leadership is about, empowering and building others up. I think something I can work on is focusing less on agreeing with others and more on understanding and appreciating people’s perspectives. I also think it’s important to actively have conversations with people that present opportunities to be empathetic and understanding, this builds connections and expands out comfort zones.

  • shayna joseph

    Empathy in short means to see things from the perspective of others. As a leader, it is highly important to be empathetic so that you can understand what people say to be effective. Senator Pugh’s speech really made me think about how I listen, empathize, and connect with others. I learned that I am a distracted listener and could slow down to really understand what the other person is saying before interrupting their thoughts. Empathy helps you be open-minded and lets everyone know they can be open about what they are thinking and feeling without being judged, dismissed or ignored.

  • Ryleigh Watkins

    Empathy can be hard for leaders that are goal oriented. We have to stop and make ourselves do a wellness check with our teams. It’s the most efficient was to check in on everyone and still be productive. Pick a time that everyone can stop what they are doing, and say “How is everyone doing? Are you having a good day? Can I help with anything?” Create an environment where people can ask for help and feel heard. It’s also a good idea to work with other people that maybe are better at empathizing than you are. That is a fantastic way to learn how to empathize in a good way. The true core of empathy is listening. That’s definitely the most important part, making sure that people know you’re hearing what they are saying and processing it.

  • Sarah Stovall

    Empathy is one skill that I feel comes easy to me. However, it is still something that I struggle with and often I am frustrated by. I strive to be empathetic in my life because we should all strive to understand each other better. One thing that I do daily is I try to constantly remind myself that everyone around me has a unique set of circumstances that ultimately influences their decision making. If I do not understand why someone made a certain decision, I reflect on them as a person and how it would make sense if I were them. Being empathetic is definitely an important skill because we need to understand each other in order to better serve each other. I liked that Senator Pugh said that empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is simply putting yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to see their perspective more clearly. I am happy to say that I think my generation is pretty good at being empathetic. I hope that we hold on to this strength. If we can, I think we can heal some of the divide in our society that has stemmed from lack of empathy and effort to understand one another.

  • Clare Jordan

    The basis of being an empathetic leader is listening. To me empathy is trying to understand before being understood, so we can better reach others where they are. To be truly empathetic is to be a good listener. This is something that Senator Pugh touched on in his talk frequently. He said that it is his job as senator to listen to his community so he can serve them. To be a good senator or leader you have to listen to those you are serving and lead with empathy to make make a positive impact.

  • Abby Boyer

    Empathy is a quality that I definitely need to work on. I have a very bold personality and that sometimes can come off as I am not being very intentional. Senator made a great point when he said to be intentional in all aspects of your life. I think when someone is truly empathetic as a leader they know how to be understanding, they know how to listen, and they know how to respect others. Being empathetic isn’t just something that someone is born with, it is a process. I personally am still growing to achieve being an empathetic leader. I find myself at times doing a lot of talking instead of doing some listening when I need to. I am working on being more intentional in my relationships and with all that I invest in. Being empathetic is such a strong character quality that the world needs more of, but it is a growing experience to achieve the level of understanding to be an empathetic leader. I am looking forward to growing from my college experiences and from my peers to become a more empathetic person.

  • Taylor Schuff

    I really enjoyed listening to Senator Adam Pugh. He made some great points about being a leader, and one I strive to be more like everyday. Empathy can be challenging at times, especially when you think you are right. I always try to listen to other peoples ideas to not only learn from them but to grow as a leader. Whenever he said “Listen to learn and not to respond” It made me realize that I don’t always so that. I will use my strength individualism to be a more empathetic leader and really listen to what others bring to the table.

  • Abbi Curling

    I consider myself to be a pretty empathetic leader. I really try to put myself in other’s shoes constantly. It is always good to be aware of other people’s situation. Something might be beneficial to you but harmful to others. It’s important to look at all aspects and ask yourself if they cater to everyone. Not everyone has the same resources, opinions, opportunity, or ideas. Empathy is something even leader should strive for every day.

  • Fatima Alconz

    As Mr Adam said, a leader is a person who cares for people. It also means LOVE people. We cannot be leaders if we do not love people, because leadership is base on people. Love means actions, love people is the cause of leadership and empathy is the product of leadership. But what specifically means empathy?, according with a dictionary is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. To be a more empathetic leader I want to start taking care of people, it means I want to practice take the shoes or place of others, so I can be able to understand them and try to feel what they are feeling. I understand that it also means a sacrifice, be willing to die to myself, my own desires to be able to take the shoes/place of others. But that’s why we decided to become leaders. To help people around us and work together for a better future. In conclusion, there are 3 mainly things that I want to practive to be a more empethetic leader. Love people, take their shoes or place to be able to understand them, and be open to them even when sometimes it means die to myself.

  • Augustus Cook

    Empathy is undoubtedly one of the most important traits you can have as a leader. Being able to understand how others feel and how they see things is super important in making sure you have a functional team. However, I think it is important to acknowledge the difference between empathy and sympathy. Just being empathetic is a great trait, because it means you are able to understand and gauge how others are feeling, but I believe it is how you act on this knowledge that impacts your skill as a leader. A serial killer could be very empathetic – skilled at determining how people feel and how to use it. This does not intrinsically make them a good leader. I think a good leader knows how to use their empathy in tandem with sympathy and compassion to help others. Or perhaps a good leader uses empathy alongside logic and morals to decide if their team is truly agreeing on an issue. So, while having empathy can give you the capacity to be a good leader, empathy alone does not make one a good leader. To grow in the area of empathy-based leadership it is important to seek to understand before being understood – and to make a conscious effort to view things from their perspective.

  • Senator Adam Pugh is no doubt an excellent speaker and was not afraid of giving persuasive speech in front of the crowd due to his experience in the political field. The key thing I’ve learned from him is the mindset of starting from the baseline. As he mentioned, he was on his military mission as a bus driver. But he did so perfectly and it allowed him to be recognized by others. On the other hand, a lot of people including myself love to dream big but are not willing to waste our time on completing the ordinary tasks. As Senator Adam Pugh mentioned, leadership opportunity does not come naturally, so we have to impress others by finishing the baseline works.

    Also, he talked about always do our best regardless of who is watching. I am completely agree with his statement. Leadership begins from the mindset rather than just actions. We cannot be a leader if we do not think like a leader.

  • Cole Ranck

    What can you do to become a more empathetic leader?

    There are plenty of factors to empathy. Listening, yes. Growing relationships, definitely. Coming to a common understanding, for sure. But the one thing I feel gets left behind most often when we talk about empathy is that it is an emotional response. Empathy is not a word which is supposed to mean comprehension of a persons position and taking their cause as your own. Rather, empathy is supposed to mean being so invested in the wellbeing of another that their expression of emotion and thought are things which affect your emotions and thoughts as a leader. Personally, this is something I need to practice better since I am a very analytical and logical thinker. I have come to realize that empathy is not simply knowing the effects emotionally and physically of an experience, but being able to relate those feelings to ones own experience before solving problems.

  • Roarke Simpson

    I think I could definitely work on being more empathetic in listening to other peoples ideas instead of just sticking to my own. That is also something I can practice on doing especially since we will be doing a lot of group work in our leadership class throughout the year. I can also work on being more empathetic in listening to other people and being able to take constructive criticism when I fail and a more experienced person offers ideas.

  • bethany garrison

    Being able to understand one another is such an important thing to have as a leader.Having the ability to truly listen to someone can improve you leadership skills by a lot. I need to work on being able to put myself in other peoples shoes and to be understanding. I can do this through avidly working to listen fully to people who talk to me

  • Kaitlin Johnson

    I agree with Senator Pugh with the statement that empathy is the most vital trait a leader can have. I’ll say in these last few months of my leadership self evaluation I’ve noticed I tend to be a little stubborn at times which prevents me from just listening with the intent of change. Perhaps if I can learn to approach conflict and discussion with a more open head then I could learn to be more empathetic. I also shamefully admit that as a triple minority, if I feel someone more privileged than I speaks on oppression or any related nature I tend to shut down and take what they say with a grain of salt which is not fair to them. To be more empathetic, I am working on understanding that I can learn something new from everyone even if on surface level it may not seem that way. Basically, I must practice being more open headed and open hearted.

  • Destini Pittman

    Empathy is a very important characteristic of good leaders. When you lead you need to be able to understand people’s emotions so you can act accordingly. For me empathy comes naturally and it was one of my highest strengths. To become more empathetic you need to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. Think about how you would act in their situation and respond how you would want someone else to respond. If you want to be more empathetic you also need to ask others for their input when making decisions. Both of these traits will allow you to be an empathetic leader.

  • Thomas Dunn

    I think understanding your own feelings is the first step to understanding the feelings of others. Empathy the ability to look at someone else and feel what they’re feeling by trying to relate to them. You have to be able to see what they’re going through and remember something that you have gone through in your own life that will help you understand their circumstances better. If you often ask yourself how you’re feeling about an event, person, or situation when it happens, then it becomes easier to ask how you would feel if you were in another person’s shoes. Beyond that, its just practice. Try to imagine what a person is going through, ask them, and listen. It might turn out that you completely misinterpreted the situation and with this new knowledge you will be better at feeling what others feel in the future.

  • As a leader that tries to implement the concept of being an empathic individual in my day to day life, I still have to continue to work on listening to what others have to say. It is easy to be empathic towards those that share common ground with us, but to show empathy to those who oppose our morals/views is the true challenge. I know that when I have a conversation with someone that I find has different viewpoints, I sadly forget to try and understand their feelings, or attempt to share feelings with them. To be the best leader I can be, I have to empathize with not only those who are my friends or that share common ground, but my enemies and those who strongly oppose my viewpoints.

  • Nicholas Cockerill

    I think an absolute fundamental identity to empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Empathy a trait that is defined by the ability to understand and relate to other people. I believe training the ability to empathize will open a plethora of doors and avenues in one’s leadership capability. Before making an important decision that affects others, simply put yourself in their shoes and think about how the result that YOU are thinking of will benefit them. What you don’t want to develop is a dictatorship because the outcome you’ve thought of only benefits yourself. Granted it’s impossible to please everyone in any given sample of people. You have to weigh the negatives and positives of the decision in regards to other people’s well being.

  • Avery Humphrey

    I agree that empathy is the most important characteristic of a leader. I like to think I am a very empathetic person, when we took the strengths finders test, relator was in my top three. Although this is a strength of mine now it wasn’t in the past. It does not come naturally so I have to consciously listen, relate and have empathy for others. This has helped me to become a better leader and person all together.

  • When listening to Senator Pugh, it became abundantly clear that his first priority was to always help people, to understand their problems. I think he said it best when said, you have to care about people to be a leader, because if you don’t you aren’t leading anyone, you’re just telling others what to do. Being empathetic is seeing someone as the whole of their parts, their issues, their successes, all of it, and relating to them in a way that helps them move forward in whatever they’re facing. I really liked when he talked about not needing to have a title to make a difference. As a leader in different groups, I can only do so much without the support of the general body. These are the people who have the ability to enact the most change, and they should always be included.

  • Eden Waggoner

    Empathy is one of the most important qualities that a leader should have. Though not everyone has the natural ability to really, fully understand and respect the different perspectives and struggles of others, it is something that we always have the ability to work at. Often times, as individuals, we unintentionally limit our abilities as leaders by staying based only within our own personal frames of reference. However, in order to be a true leader for others, you must understand what the needs of others are that you can possibly meet. Even for those who have a natural gift for understanding and empathizing with others, there is a conscious effort to made in taking the next steps and acting on this understanding and actually finding what you can do for others as a leader. This all starts with choosing to listen, and even just this small effort–one that we can all make–makes a huge difference in the work that we do as leaders.

  • Carson Ladd

    Being empathetic is a very big part of being a leader. If you don’t have empathy, it would be very hard to cope with and understand others. Being a leader is a very big responsibility and it involves talking to people, and talking people through things in the hard times. I have a few things to work on as a leader, and having empathy is a big one. I believe that it will help me become the leader that I have always strived to be.

  • Valeria Carreno

    To be able to work on becoming a more empathetic leader I have to start leaving behind my biases, I have to try I see beyond my judgment and start thinking about the why: why people act certain way, why they think the way they do, etc. I also need to work on my social skills because I need to be able to connect more with people if I want to be able to understand their position. On top of all of that I also need to work on become a better listener, and learn how to take and understand the whole conversation and not only what benefits my point of view.

  • gracie walker

    I really enjoyed our discussion with Senator Adam Pugh. He said the best leaders are those who are the hardest workers and most empathetic. I try to be empathetic in every aspect of my life. You never truly know what people are going through. It is important for a leader to meet folks where they are at. Even if you don’t agree with their opinions and beliefs, you should always hear them out. Meeting people where they are at is the first step in opening up conversation for real change.

  • Perla Tovar

    I really enjoyed listening to Senator Adam Pugh’s testimony. It inspired me in many ways. I do agree that empathy is one of the most vital skills/characteristic of a leader. You have to be open-minded and accepting when working or listening to other people. I believe our world wouldn’t be as divided as it is today if we’d be more empathetic. Everyone should understand that it is okay that we’re all different and everyone has a different view/perspective on things. One thing that I strive to do is talk to new/different people everyday, it helps me to put myself in someone else’s shoes.

  • Jacqueline Lopez

    I think being empathetic in leadership is very important. Being able to understand and care for other people is major key. One thing that can be done to become a more empathetic person is listen to people and try to look at things from their point of view. Also I think being able to recognize that you aren’t always right is important. Being empathetic isn’t about right or wrong it’s about understanding another persons emotional state.