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Called to Coach
Empathy®: How to Feel More Energized at Work
Called to Coach

Empathy®: How to Feel More Energized at Work

Webcast Details

  • What do people with Empathy bring to their roles and workplaces?
  • How can you bring energy and motivation to work as you apply your Empathy talent?
  • How can managers with Empathy create more of an energized, thriving culture on their teams?

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.


Productive employees want energy, motivation and drive to characterize their work life. Managers want their teams to possess these in abundance. And organizations envision an entire engaged, thriving workforce that overflows with these qualities. How can individuals high in Empathy® bring energy and motivation to their workplaces? And how can managers high in Empathy foster a work environment that is energized, motivated and thriving? Join Gallup's Jim Collison and Dr. Jaclynn Robinson and discover how, using your Empathy theme, you can bring new energy and motivation to your role, your managing, your coaching.


When you are just understanding where someone's coming from, in that empathetic way, they feel listened to. ... [And] when you feel listened to, it tends to make you feel cared about and respected.

Jaclynn Robinson, 7:05

Let's say you notice signs of stress or burnout or disengagement, being proactive in offering support and resources can be really helpful.

Jaclynn Robinson, 8:54

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is The CliftonStrengths® Podcast, Season 3, recorded on January 19, 2024.

Jim Collison 0:06
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast series, we'll look at how to feel more energized and motivated at work one theme at a time, and today's theme is Empathy. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in the chat. Or you can email us your questions: Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Senior Learning and Development Consultant and joined me for Season 1 and 2 of The CliftonStrengths Podcast, where we looked at Wellbeing at Work and our CliftonStrengths role-based reports -- and those were awesome. If you haven't listened to them, you should. Jaclynn, welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 0:52
Hello. Thank you. Happy Friday!

Jim Collison 0:55
Happy Friday.

Jaclynn Robinson 0:56
Or Happy Friyay, as my Positivity® always says!

Empathy: Questions for Individuals

Jim Collison 0:59
That's right. Always great to be with you. This season, we're talking about bringing energy, and a word, actually, I've spent a lot of time talking about energy, but motivation is another one we put in the title. I haven't used that word very much. I think it could be -- motivation could be applicable to today, as we think about Empathy. But let's get talking about the individual first. What are some ways an individual high, high in Empathy can feel more energized by focusing on their basic needs?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:25
Ooh, basic needs -- clarity in the role, having the resources you need. I think someone high in Empathy can be tapped in and tuned in to what their needs are or where there's uncertainty around their most basic needs. And so what I think about with this theme is, you know, really thinking about that emotion you're feeling. If you feel like you are firing on all cylinders, and you're super productive, sounds like those most basic needs of understanding, you know, your key priorities and responsibilities are clear. Sounds like you've got the materials you need to carry those out. But let's pause for a moment and say that you feel anxious or maybe flustered. Instead of storing that emotion, how can you label it and get to the why? Why are you feeling that way? What is it I'm feeling, first and foremost? Is this anxiety? Is this frustration? Where is it coming from? What do I know to be true about this feeling? Are you catastrophizing, essentially? Or is there something really relevant there, really practical?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:29
Maybe you're anxious because there's a key responsibility you need to complete, but you don't have the resources you need, whether it's a person you need to connect with or context on that key responsibility. Well, that's not catastrophizing, there's something very true about that. And that would allow you to then think about the next step, that what's next: Who do I need to go to? Maybe it's my manager I need to ask for support. Maybe it's someone I work alongside that's the, you know, the team lead to ask for support. And then that's going to help you get back on track.

Jim Collison 3:04
In a lot of the seasons of The CliftonStrengths Podcast, you and I have spent some time talking about the me versus we, right -- the theme, how it relates to me and then how it relates outwardly to others. I think Empathy is one of those themes that immediately always is the we without the me, right. And I think, for those high in Empathy, especially as we think about individuals bringing energy and this word of motivation, I think that's important, as I referenced in the title to it, of understanding, yes, Empathy has that ability to understand how other people are feeling. But I think turned in on itself, and this is maybe where Empathy has been so focused on the outward, we need to bring it in a little bit, to say, How am I feeling right now, in this task? I'm terrible at this!

Jim Collison 3:53
I'll be in the middle of doing something, and I'm feeling terrible, and then I just start taking it out on people that I'm working with, right. And I think this is one of those areas for people with high, high in Empathy of understanding where they're feeling at the moment in their needs, and being able then to express that in healthy ways to their, like you, like you just said, to their manager or to their supervisor, to those that they're working with or the teams that are around them. To say, You know what? Right now, I kind of need this. Now, I even said that in a way that was a little forceful. But, you know, being able to say, these are the needs I have right now. I don't know -- respond to that. Does that make any sense to what I'm saying?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:34
It does. I think there's so much focus on the we, and you hit the nail on the head. And I really want to be cognizant of that for this particular episode, because we want to think more about your own energy, your own motivation and putting that, that air mask, that oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you can support yourself, feel energy, which is going to give you the energy to help others.

Jim Collison 4:59
Yeah, yeah, focusing in those moments on yourself, to say, Hey, how am I feeling right now? And how may that feeling -- because that's a chemical reaction inside of us that's gonna dictate the next set of reactions that come out of us. Right? How do I, If I'm feeling this way, is it the smartest time to do this? Or is it the smartest time to do that? Or do I need to put something in place to make sure I'm bringing energy and motivation back to what I'm doing to get it done? When we think about Empathy, for the individual, again, How can, how can, how can they feel more energized by focusing on their individual strength to talk -- I'm just mentioned a little bit about that, but -- and development. Talk a little bit more about that, Jaclynn.

Jaclynn Robinson 5:45
Well, someone with this theme, they can use that Empathy to help understand their own career aspirations and the challenges they're experiencing. So when you do, you know, tune back into yourself, and you consider the highs and lows of each day, where are you feeling the most engaged and happy? Where do you feel drained? And then what can you potentially delegate or eliminate that's going to give you back your mental and emotional energy, get you back on that individual development plan or that, that strengths pathway that supports you the most?

Jim Collison 6:19
I'm gonna change that word. I'm going to insert that motivation word though, but in what ways can an individual with Empathy feel more motivated by building partnerships and finding purpose in their role?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:31
Yeah, ooh, for this one, you know what I see is they're the natural champion for individuals and are the natural accountability partner, support system. Because someone with high Empathy has that sense of getting an understanding of the, the, I would say, the read of the room, or the read of the individual in front of them, you really do find such a beautiful way of adapting to that person and supporting their needs. And I think that builds a lot of trust and rapport and respect. Because when you are just understanding where someone's coming from, in that empathetic way, they feel listened to. We know that when you feel listened to, it tends to make you feel cared about and respected. And so I think by nature, you just start to build those bridges by having a sense of what someone's going through, and coming through to support those particular needs, either as a thought partner or just that champion, or, you know, support system for them.

Empathy: Questions for Managers

Jim Collison 7:36
Let's make a switch over to the manager. As we think about managing, How can a manager with, with Empathy support others with their basic needs?

Jaclynn Robinson 7:44
Yeah, fostering that work environment where team members not only understand their expectations, but they, they really feel supported, valued and motivated to meet them. So when discussing expectations, practicing that active listening, paying close attention to your team members' concerns, their questions, the feedback, their, you know, overall emotions in the room. And I think that's how team members feel supported and valued to meet those goals, because the manager with Empathy can cater the messaging in a way that's going to resonate with the group, based on where their, their emotions are sitting at that point in time.

Jim Collison 8:24
As we've been going through these questions throughout the season, I'm seeing where there's a sweet spot for some of these themes that, you know, where we ask the question, and you kind of go, "Duh," you know. And this may be one of those for this, right? But how can a manager with Empathy help others feel seen, heard and valued as an individual? Again, we think Empathy, you kind of go, "Duh." But talk a little bit about that.

Jaclynn Robinson 8:50
Well, naturally, they can be attuned to the employees' emotional states. But let's say you notice signs of stress or burnout or disengagement, being proactive in offering support and resources can be really helpful. That's where your spidey sense, I think, really pays off. You might catch those signs ahead of time. Or if team members are facing personal challenges that end up impacting their ability to meet those workplace expectations, being able to offer emotional support and resources to them can be helpful. In either of those cases, showing Empathy for their wellbeing is going to help them feel seen heard and valued.

Jim Collison 9:28
Yeah. And there might be some questions that need to be asked. Like, high Empathy, we may get used to a pattern of being able to recognize it, see it and act upon it without clar-, without clarity from the individual. But we also may want to ask for permission sometimes, as we think about, Hey, let me just validate some things before I say other things to you. Are you feeling this way? As we think about being seen, heard and valued, I think that adds to it, right? "Hey, I'm feel, I'm sensing this. Is that true? Tell me a little bit about what's going on there" -- as opposed to just assuming it's true. Right? Maybe you've been right in the past. And you're like, Oh, I always get this right. Well, maybe, maybe you won't always. My, I think this is where it ties into it, right? How can a manager with Empathy build trust, inspire and deepen team collaboration and community, as we think about teams?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:24
Well, this manager's really just naturally talented at creating that psychologically safe and supportive work environment, where employees can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns without fear of judgment. So maybe creating some open office hours where team members are able to process their thoughts and emotions with that manager's listening ear. Where needed, help them name their feelings, so they can start to process and regulate them more effectively. And again, as you mentioned, Jim, with, with permission, if someone's coming into that room for open office hours, and they want to sort through just some workplace, you know, emotions they're experiencing, that person leading with Empathy can probably really help them.

Jaclynn Robinson 11:02
And then they leave the room and you feel like, Oh, you know, not only do I have that trust and rapport with this manager, but they've really helped me reset and get back in alignment. So I feel more inspired to go out there and get things done. And when you feel that sense of, you know, connection and inspiration, you're a much better team member; you're much more capable of being able to carry out the mission and purpose of the company. So maybe one by one, we end up seeing them spark, you know, kind of a fire within the team.

Jim Collison 11:37
I don't know why, but when you were talking, I had this, this idea or this idea kind of popped in my head about Empathy coming in hot on a team. And like, coming in, and whoosh -- I know all these things to do, you know, that we need to do or how you're feeling -- as opposed to maybe coming in not so hot on some of these, to say, "Hey, tell me a little bit." That make give you a clue to ask the question. of, "Hey, tell me what's going on." Or "Is everything OK?" Or, "Man, you're feeling, you're" -- because I don't think people realize this as much. It's, it's OK to ask people why they're so excited. Like, Hey, you look great today! What is going on? Like, man, there's a spark in your eye. There, "Man, there is a, you look like you're motivated." I think sometimes we always think that's only reserved for the, "Is everything OK?"

Jim Collison 12:35
You can say, if you're feeling, they're feeling this way, "Man, you seem excited. What's going on?" Right, and see how my eyes change when I ask that question? "You seem excited!" You know. And, and, and that works, I think that, I think for teams, as we think about inspiring, you can inspire a team when you come in, when they're, when they're motivated, of not trying to remotivate them. Let that, right, just say, "Man, you guys are cranking -- you guys are killing it today! Let's keep killing it!" Anything you want to add to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 13:10
No, I love that. I love that. It's the dichotomy where we can see those two spectrums. Someone might need to process something. Someone might be having a great day where they're high on life and happy to be there. Empathy can, can play to both of those. Absolutely.

Jim Collison 13:23
You've done this to me in the past, where we've been talking, and seems like, man, you're in a good mood today! Not like I'm not in a good mood most days, but, but of calling that out, I think, can be a powerful motivator, right? It can build trust and inspire. Last question, as we think about wrapping this up: How can a manager with Empathy support the growth of each team member?

Jaclynn Robinson 13:46
Scheduling those regular one-on-one Check-Ins with their team members to discuss wellbeing, goals and challenges. Use those meetings to offer -- going back to the positive -- recognition and support. What's getting you fired up? What's getting you excited? Who do you love working with? Let's talk about that. What makes that so energizing for you? Where can I be a support? Where can we start thinking ahead of more opportunities to make sure that you feel that heightened sense of engagement and wellbeing in the workplace? Let's put those goals in place. So that's what I think about whenever it's, we're, you know, considering Empathy with the learning and development aspect.

Jim Collison 14:26
Yeah, I think the opportunity to what I do best every day [item Q01 of Gallup's Q12® employee engagement survey] and understanding how that makes people feel, right. Because there's a, there's a feel, there's a feel component to that, to be able to think, every day I get to wake up and start doing something that I was built to do. And listen, our lives aren't in a way where, in most cases, we get to do that 100% of, of everything that we do. But if we can win more than we lose -- a manager here at Gallup told me that when I first started managing. So you don't have to win them all; you just got to win more than you lose. And I think this sets you up, as we think about all these things that we're talking about, these set you up to, to maybe win more than you lose. Let's wrap it. Any final thoughts on Empathy, Jaclynn?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:11
Ooh, well, someone high in Empathy -- you know, we might all have one of these individuals in mind -- very good at being compassionate and caring for other people or being that listening ear; harder to do for yourself. So if you have Empathy, I would actually, you know, encourage you to, going back to the oxygen mask, putting that mask on yourself first -- making sure you're attending to your own wellbeing. Being attuned to what motivates you, inspires you, gives you energy, so that you can be consistent with incorporating that into your day-to-day. And if things do get, you know, really heavy, emotionally, whether for yourself or the team, already having those ideas in mind of where you get energy, what's going to help you decompress, is going to help you get through it.

Jim Collison 16:01
I think with that, we will remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available now in Gallup Access, or even at There's a Search button. Click on the Search button and put "Empathy," and you'll see a drop-down; it will say "Empathy theme." Choose that, and all the webcasts we've done on Empathy are available for you there. Some great learning opportunities -- listen, I know you listen, because I get, just today I got some feedback. Someone was joining one of our groups, our Facebook groups, and they, I always ask, "How'd you hear about us?" And they said, "Because Jim told me to join." So I know you guys are listening. We want to join you in the groups. For coaching, master coaching, if you want to become a Gallup-Certified Coach -- Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach -- I say that right -- send us an email: If you want to join us for the 2024 Gallup at Work Summit -- and why wouldn't you? We got virtual and in-person options available. Check it out: -- all one word. And stay up to date with all of our future webcasts by joining our Facebook groups or following me on LinkedIn. I post those as well. You can join our YouTube channels. If you subscribe to that, you'll get notifications. Lots of ways to stay up to date. But most important, just search "CliftonStrengths." You'll find us everywhere. If you enjoyed it, hit those Like and Subscribe buttons, and please share it. And thanks for listening today. If you're listening live, stay around for a little bit of a postshow. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Jaclynn Robinson's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity and Relator.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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