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Communicate With Empathy | MAMBA MONDAYS

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

The Harvard Business Review says the best teams immediately and respectfully confront one another when problems arise.

  • In the weakest teams, there is no accountability

  • In mediocre teams, bosses (coaches) are the source of accountability

  • In high-performance teams, peers manage the vast majority of performance problems with one another

But what does effective and respectful confrontation look like?

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Kobe Bryant was asked, “How did you make the journey from dedication and passion to empathy?” Kobe Bryant was known for being a hard-driving, forceful leader and teammate, especially early in his career. But by the end of his career, he seemed to make a shift in his leadership style to having more empathy and being more relational.

Kobe said, “Because I wanted to win. My approach to doing it was not working, so I started working backward and asking, ‘How am I communicating with my teammates, what can I change, what are they going through, and what are they feeling?’ I had to understand their journey, how they were feeling as people, and what they were going through. When you do that, you have empathy, which helps you be a better leader because you know how to reach them better and communicate with them better.”

But what is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

When we have empathy, we know what motivates, encourages, and inspires our teammates.

The Harvard Business Review said the best teams with the best cultures have universal accountability. Anyone and everyone on the team should be able to hold anyone and everyone accountable if it is in the team's best interest.

When we have universal accountability, we are all motivated and able to effectively hold each other accountable meaningfully.

The quicker teammates can identify and address problems and issues, the better. The quicker we address issues, the faster problems get solved and the more relationships can grow. The longer it takes us to address issues, the more mistrust and dysfunction can negatively affect our team.

Our goal is to develop a culture of universal accountability by teaching each other how to effectively praise and hold each other accountable so that we can perform at our best.


1 - What is your biggest takeaway from the video?

2 - How does having empathy help us be better teammates?

3 - How do you like receiving praise; privately or publicly?

4 - How do you like receiving criticism; privately or publicly?

5 - How do you know how your teammates like to receive praise and criticism?

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