How to Empathize with Leaders who don't know where to start with Scaling Agility?

Siraj Sirajuddin / Aug 1, 2023

Today's topic is inspired by my conversations with some dear friends and colleagues Hazurasingh Siviya 🔑 Sanjiv Augustine 🎯 Bob Payne Maggie Spivey ... Thank you!

Empathizing with leaders who don't know where to start with Scaling Agility is crucial for providing support and guidance.

Here are some ways to empathize and begin the journey with them:


  1. Active listening: Practice active listening to understand their concerns, challenges, and uncertainties. Give them a safe space to express their thoughts and emotions without judgment. Pay attention to their verbal and non-verbal cues to grasp their perspective fully.

  2. Put yourself in their shoes: Try to understand the position they are in and the pressures they might be facing. Imagine the complexity of their role, the organizational dynamics, and the challenges they encounter. By empathizing with their situation, you can better appreciate their perspective.

  3. Validate their feelings: Acknowledge and validate their emotions. Scaling Agility can be a daunting task, and it's normal for leaders to feel overwhelmed or unsure. Let them know that it's okay to have these feelings and that they are not alone in facing such challenges.

  4. Share stories and experiences: Share stories or examples of other leaders who have embarked on the Scaling Agility journey. Highlight the initial struggles they faced, the lessons they learned, and the eventual successes they achieved. This can help normalize their experience and provide inspiration.

  5. Provide guidance and resources: Offer guidance and resources to help leaders get started. Provide them with relevant articles, books, case studies, or training materials that can support their understanding and decision-making. Point them towards trusted sources and experts who can provide further assistance.

  6. Break it down into manageable steps: Help leaders break down the Scaling Agility process into smaller, manageable steps. Start with the areas that have the highest impact or alignment with their organization's needs. By focusing on one step at a time, leaders can build momentum and gradually expand their understanding and implementation of Scaling Agility.

  7. Offer mentorship or coaching: If possible, offer mentorship or coaching to support leaders in their journey. Provide them with an experienced mentor or coach who can guide them, answer their questions, and provide personalized support. This one-on-one guidance can be invaluable in helping leaders navigate the complexities of Scaling Agility.

  8. Foster a learning environment: Create an environment where leaders feel encouraged to experiment, learn from failures, and continuously improve. Emphasize the importance of learning as a key aspect of Scaling Agility. Encourage leaders to seek feedback, reflect on their experiences, and share their learnings with others.

  9. Connect them with a community: Introduce leaders to communities or networks where they can connect with peers who are also navigating the Scaling Agility journey. These communities can provide a platform for sharing experiences, seeking advice, and building a support network. Knowing that they are not alone in their challenges can be reassuring and motivating.

  10. Celebrate small wins: Recognize and celebrate the progress and achievements, no matter how small, that leaders make on their Scaling Agility journey. Acknowledge their efforts and the positive impact they are making within their organization. Celebrating wins boosts morale and motivation, encouraging leaders to continue their efforts.


Remember, empathy is about understanding and supporting leaders through their challenges. By providing a listening ear, offering guidance, and fostering a supportive environment, you can help leaders gain confidence and find their starting point in Scaling Agility.

What would you recommend? How do you empathize with leaders on their first Scaling Agility journey?

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