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What the CEO of Microsoft Pursues that Average Leaders Neglect

The difference between average leaders and exceptional leadership is heart.

Heartless leaders are deformed beasts that excuse abuse in the name of results.


Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, pursues empathy.

His pursuit is explained by a simple question. “… is there a growing sense of empathy for the people around me?” (Bloomberg)

You normally evaluate leadership with questions about skills and results. But I wonder if you’re asking yourself, “How am I showing and growing in empathy?”

Satya hopes the take away for readers of his book, “Hit Refresh,” is, “… the power of taking everyday action driven by empathy.”

Empathy begins by seeing the world through the lens of others and feeling the world through the emotion of others.

Embrace AND:

Lead with empathy and courage.

Courageous-empathy solves challenges by shining a light into dark closets and accepting whatever nasty creature scurries out. Cowardice turns from uncomfortable challenges. But courageous-empathy turns toward discomfort.

Empathy is the soul of courage.

Turning toward discomfort isn’t about loving pain. It’s passion for people. Courageous-empathy drives the desire to make something better.

Courageous-empathy sees an issue and asks, “What can we do about this?”

2 ways to develop empathy:

#1. Welcome the darkness.

Life teaches you empathy when you open your heart to difficulty, distress, and adversity.

Suffering softens hard edges into channels of service.

Satya said, “I wouldn’t claim … any innate capability of empathy that I was born with. If anything, it is life that has taught me.”

#2. Stop asking why. Start asking who.

“Why is this happening to me,” is a search for fairness. But when you ask, “Who is this adversity calling me to become,” you rise up.

In order to matter you must bring your best self to the world.

What is empathy?

If you showed up with empathy, what would be true of you?

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