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May 14, 2020

Leading With Empathy During COVID-19

Shown above: Executive Director Business Strategy & Analytics, Amy Inzanti with her daughter Lorelei

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt around the entire world. It has affected everyone in one way or another. It has tested the human spirit, and I, for one, have been struggling.  

As a working parent, I can say that this has been an incredibly trying time. My husband is a frontline worker, and suddenly without warning six weeks ago, I found myself the primary giver of every need for my kids at every minute of the day– from meals and baths, to education and emotional validation, to mental-wellness and discipline. Don’t get me wrong. Parents have always carried this weight. However, we’ve also always had the support of our very strong villages: teachers, grandparents, and friends. All the while we’re trying to balance out the worries and anxiety about our own parents and families, and how this pandemic will impact them. Each and every day, I sit at the edge of my seat, waiting for school and daycare to reopen– and reopen with the right safety and health measures in place.

And on the outside, a national debate roars on, and businesses are trying to adjust to a vastly different environment that is testing their resilience and survival. Companies are doing everything they can to evolve and accommodate for a severely mentally and physically strained workforce; while trying to manage bottom lines and an economic downturn.

Shown above: Amy Inzanti with her son Owen

Will we get through this? 

Even early on, reports have shown that the most successful leaders during this pandemic – of countries, companies, and at home – are women, including New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern. But a more in-depth look into the “why” reveals a higher level of empathy paired with the acumen are the key skills these leaders embody. Empathy is more than an understanding of how others think, live, and feel. It’s how you act as a result of that understanding, how that understanding can be effectively sourced and applied to change the world for the better… or at least make the best of an unprecedented situation. How can we all channel our inner empathy and stand up to become a leader in this time? What will you DO as a leader with all the knowledge you have?

In just a few months, we’ve seen many impactful and inspirational examples of empathy in action– from pivoting an existing business for the greater good to startups combatting COVID-19. The decisions and actions (or inaction) we make at this critical moment in humanity will make or break us as leaders.

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