8 motivational quotes that show empathy is the key to great leadership


The most powerful tool that determines a leader’s success is his/her ability to empathise. It is the tool that inspires and motivates people to believe and follow someone, to pledge their loyalty and their trust.

The ability to recognise and share the feelings of others is what differentiates a good leader from a great one. Whether leading a small startup team, a big multinational, or a country, the emotional connect is the key to the leader’s success. Here are some inspirational quotes that show how successful leadership is about the heart, and not just the mind:

“Measure your impact in humanity, not in the likes, but the lives you touch; not in popularity, but in the people you serve. I found that my life got bigger when I stopped caring about what other people thought about me. You will find yours will too. Stay focused on what really matters. There will be times when your resolve to serve humanity will be tested. Be prepared. People will try to convince you that you should keep your empathy out of your career. Don’t accept this false premise.” – Tim Cook, Apple, CEO

“As a leader, you should always start with where people are before you try to take them where you want them to go.” – Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur & Author

“Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration – of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.” – Lance Secretan, Author & Management Consultant

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia, Motivational Speaker & Writer

“The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, Life Coach & Speaker

“Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80 percent of the “success” in our lives.” – Joshua Freedman, CEO, Six Seconds

Pick up Satya Nadella’s book Hit Refresh or look at Sundar Pichai’s note to his team in the wake of the shooting at the YouTube headquarters – both are about people and leading with empathy. It is perhaps what makes these Indian leaders the heads of global conglomerates like Microsoft and Google. Empathy is what makes them great leaders.

Which leaders have you met who have truly led with empathy? As a leader, how do you lead with empathy? Let us know in the comments!