Heather McGowan: How To Empower & Inspire Human Potential

One of the through lines of this podcast is the idea that the COVID pandemic profoundly and permanently changed how people think about work – not to mention the value exchange we now expect from it.

Consequently, in a post-pandemic world, our common and traditional ways of motivating human performance in our workplaces instantly lost any remaining viability, and now must be replaced with practices that inherently demonstrate to workers that they are valued, appreciated and respected in the most meaningful ways.

What’s long been missing in leadership is heart – and if the nearly 100 million American workers who quit their jobs during the past two year-long “Great Resignation” have a message to send, it’s that they’ll no longer accept job offers where they don’t have a manager who cares about them, advocates for them, develops them and honors who they are as a person.

One theme we haven’t spent enough time discussing is empathy, more specifically the managerial ability to better understand the lives, motivations and needs of the employees we lead before being able to give them the personalized support they’re seeking.

Authors Heather E. McGowan and Chris Shipley have just published “The Empathy Advantage: Leading the Empowered Workforce,” a book that speaks to this directly – and this podcast with Heather is focused on exploring some of the less obvious ways managers can powerfully demonstrate empathy to their people.

In his book, “The Future Normal,” our most recent podcast guest, Rohit Bhargava noted that both sexual identity and gender were emerging as a new form of diversity in workplaces. And Heather’s book more directly asserts these “have become the most rapidly transforming demographic in the workforce today.” So, in our discussion, we address this sensitive issue with Heather providing some rather humane and insightful guidance to managers on how to effectively maneuver as this change takes hold.

With another through line of this podcast being that we all must learn to effectively navigate our new uncertain and non-linear world, Heather brings an optimistic view to virtually every topic we discuss.  A long-time listener and promoter of this podcast, my conversation with her replicates one you’d have with a long-time friend.  And it’s truly informative.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.