Planners’ Picks ― June 14, 2022

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

This week we talk about empathy after a CSN discussion on that topic. We also get curious, write our “to-don’t” list, and ramp up our mentoring skills.


:: Image of the Week

Graphic showing what we see of people on the surface and what we don't see (chronic depression, loss, past trauma, anxiety, illness)
Graphic showing what we see of people on the surface and what we don’t see (chronic depression, loss, past trauma, anxiety, illness)


:: Resources on Empathy in the Workplace

The Importance Of Cultivating Empathy In The Workplace

Empathy is generally defined as “the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.” Today, as the workplace continues to evolve, empathy is often expected in the workforce, with the added expectation that this change comes from the top.

Researchers note that empathy is an inherently human response, and we see it all the time: when comforting those visibly upset even when we don’t know the root cause, in the pure excitement we show when total strangers complete a hard-won goal, even in the pay-it-forward moments we see in drive-thru lines. So if, as human beings, we are innately empathetic, why does empathy remain such a rare commodity in the workplace? And as business leaders, how do we toe the line of empathy without invading the personal space of others?

Empathy Is The Most Important Leadership Skill According To Research

Empathy has always been a critical skill for leaders, but it is taking on a new level of meaning and priority. Far from a soft approach it can drive significant business results.

You always knew demonstrating empathy is positive for people, but new research demonstrates its importance for everything from innovation to retention. Great leadership requires a fine mix of all kinds of skills to create the conditions for engagement, happiness and performance, and empathy tops the list of what leaders must get right.

“We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass

Empathy Is a Superpower in the Workplace — Here’s How to Use It Right

Clear-headed leadership. Dedicated employees. A strong company culture. These are undeniable attributes of a thriving workplace. So is another factor: empathy. While soft skills are often considered less important than efficiency or professionalism to a company’s success, that common misconception can be detrimental to company culture, where being able to understand and have compassion for other people’s emotions is integral to working efficiently together and keeping up workplace morale.


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

5 Phrases Successful People Use Frequently

“Even though these are some of the first words we learn as we begin to understand social cues and healthy interactions with others, somewhere along the path to adulthood we underestimate just how important these 5 phrases are – and the negative impact they have on relationships and organizations when they fade from our lexicons.” –  Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.

“It’s not about trying to find something to help you be a more effective leader. It’s about trying to be a better person. The other will follow.” – James A. Autry

What does Emotional Intelligence look like in action?

CSN recently had a session on the topic of Emotional Intelligence. By exhibiting these 10 qualities, you are truly an emotionally intelligent leader.

The Origin of Curiosity By Dani Saveker

I love discovering, learning and understanding new things – especially about history and people – and words! I always want to know what sits behind things, I guess it’s having a background in engineering!

My ‘energy’ word this week stems from that, and is CURIOSITY. It originates from a Latin word: CURIOSUS meaning “careful, diligent; inquiring eagerly, meddlesome”. The word is related to CURA meaning “care” – and associated with the word “cure”. Maybe this is a reminder that to ‘cure’ anything, we need to be willing to find out the true cause and not just try and fix the symptom.


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

8 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care Every Day (Because You Deserve It)

Practicing self-care isn’t just about spoiling yourself with a big treat or moment of luxury—like staying at a bougie hotel for the weekend, purchasing an all-new wardrobe, or opting for two desserts instead of one. The art of simple self-care is much more internally nourishing than that, and one that takes some time to get the hang of given our propensity to put others before ourselves. Self-care should be more of a daily practice, often made up of small but impactful intentions, that helps keep you energized, gratified, and able to show up for others.


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

Make a “To-Don’t” List For Your Team

Wellbeing at work is a buzzy topic today as employees and leaders alike are reporting record levels of burnout and dissatisfaction in the wake of the pandemic. While mindfulness exercises and yoga classes are nice perks, they’re merely “icing on the cake,” not “the cake itself,” and are insufficient to tackle the larger issue, says this actionable Suzi McAlpine post on improving team wellbeing. McAlpine says the top thing leaders can do to beat back burnout is to “get better at prioritizing and organizing work,” and she offers seven tips that can help. One counterintuitive way to better manage tasks? Make a “to-don’t” list. Odds are, “you and your team simply can’t do it all—especially not right now,” so a crucial part of your strategic planning should be identifying things that the organization “can ditch or delay.” Look at your top 3-5 priorities and “resist any ideas or initiatives that don’t match up.” You can always table great ideas to add back into the mix later. Exercising this kind of discipline can be a challenge but also “powerful and freeing” and takes some of the pressure off you and your team’s back so you can all focus on what matters most.

Take 5: How to Be a Better Mentor

There’s a lot of advice out there for aspiring leaders hoping to advance in their careers. But what about developing others’ talents? Whether you are in a formal mentoring relationship or an informal one, there are things you can do to ensure that the experience is as beneficial as possible for your mentee.

“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” ― John C. Maxwell

People First: 10 Tips on Servant Leadership

Wes Friesen reminds us that successful organizations add value to all of their major stakeholders including employees, customers, and investors. The best-led and most successful organizations and teams understand and prioritize putting their people (employees) first. What happens next? Richard Branson explains by saying, “Clients (customers) do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” When customers are treated well, they, in turn, bring their business and tell others, which results in healthy cash flow to benefit the stockholders and other investors. Bottom line: everybody benefits when people are put first!


:: Upcoming Events

Navigating Change Management within Teams

In CSN’s recent presentations on Building Employee Trust, we discussed four growth areas for building trust in teams: Emotional Intelligence, Change Management, Empathy, & Coaching. We will spend some more time on each of these topics, and next up is Change Management.

Join CSN members Rich Gassen and Carol Hulland for a small group discussion on this topic, with definitions, examples, and resources for navigating change management as a leader. Some pre-work will be sent via email July 1 to registrants. Come prepared to share stories and have candid conversations around your journey in this area of supervision.

When: July 7, 10:00-11:15am via Zoom