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CEOs - Is your empathy and EQ strategy up to standard? Planning for the next few months

CEO’s and Business Leaders. It has been an amazingly tough few months. This has been a unique situation to lead a team through and many have fallen with major losses in business share, market share, jobs and companies across the world. If you are still here and have your job, company and some of your staff, congratulations. I salute you!

I live in Hong Kong, where saving face has historically been an Asia cultural trait. Do not show weakness, manage with control and people should do as they are instructed, without bringing emotion into the office. However, empathetic leadership is slowly becoming more valued and there is a focus on selflessness and compassion, especially during these challenging times.

As a Leader, planning now lies ahead. There is a huge revolution around what the “new normal” looks like and how the world is going to adapt to this. As Leaders, you are responsible for assisting your Teams and company to navigate through this. There are strategic decisions to be made. However, EQ and empathy during this time has been at the forefront of people’s minds with many people now looking at how companies and how their Leaders have reacted following the crisis when deciding where their future lies.

We are all increasingly aware that Employees, especially millennials and GenZ are moving towards brands and companies who have good CSR and also match their values. This is as well as companies showing that they VALUE their Employees input and that the Employees can have an impact on the world they live and work in as part of their role in their company.

So how are you going to react as a Leader? Let’s break this down into 3 areas.


Reacting to your Team with empathy and understanding that in some cases, they have had to see work colleagues made redundant, have been fearful of losing their own jobs, or have seen family members and friends going through challenging times is essential. Now you can build stability on a foundation of trust with your current employees. Sitting in THEIR reality and understanding that they may be emotionally exhausted as well can lead to a completely different perspective, resulting in more rapport and a stronger Team for the future. Let them know how appreciative you are of their effort, loyalty and support during this time. Focus them on what you can and will do to further strengthen the business to help them feel secure moving forward.

Back to work

Studies I am reading globally are showing ranges of 50- 80% of people who want to continue working from home on a much more regular basis. If you need your Team back in the office be sure that the communication relating to the “WHY” is uniform and cohesive with your senior Leadership Team. Also “HOW” you bring them back will be important. Empathy with people who have had an extra 1-2 hours a day for sleep, social or family time, will be important. Your Employees understanding the “why” will be essential. Where possible enhance the environment they are working in and offering a degree of flexibility may be needed. Plan the return carefully for physical and mental safety. If you are not offering flexible working then your competitors may be. Ask your Employees how you can help their return to be as smooth as possible. Get them involved in the next stage.


Growth of your people, of your business and growth for you. What did you do right? How could you do better? What can you do to accelerate rebuilding your people and business? Communicate, ask questions, respond. Have you asked your people how well you reacted? Have you emotionally brought them on a journey, which will have them invested in growth for the company?

This is ALL about realities. Your reality vs theirs. Remember, we all have different maps of the world. How we see reality depends on our circumstances and in many cases our own emotions and responses as well as the people around us which will be affecting how we see the situation. The very BEST Leaders are able to sit with their Employees and take that alternative perspective, and find the most unbiased way to move forward which results in a win win situation for you, your Employees and the economic future of the business. People will ultimately connect on an emotional level and now, even more than ever having advanced EQ and empathy is essential.

For coaching to enhance and develop your EQ, empathy and communication, connect with me at

Caroline Langston is the Founder of Successful Consultants Ltd, an Executive, Personal and Career Development Coaching company in Hong Kong and New York. She is also the Founder of a nonprofit providing free information and coaching to people who are unemployed. Caroline is dedicated to coaching people for success and happiness in their careers and lives. She is a Certified Professional Coach at International Coaching Federation standards. Caroline is also degree qualified with further certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming at Master Practitioner and Coach

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