Breath of Clarity

Comment #2: Leadership for Environmental Managers Student-Generated Critical Questions

Original Post by Paul Hamilton:

John Maxwell’s (2016) highest level of leadership to obtain is Level – 5 Pinnacle. Its a lifelong investment into yourself and others as a leader. Level 5 leaders have the ability to develop others into leaders. If you were a Level -5 leader what would be the most important leadership skill you would teach your successor?

Maxwell, John C. 2016. “The 5 Levels of Leadership.” John C. Maxwell (blog). August 30, 2016.

My Comment:

Hi Paul,

Excellent question.

The most important leadership skill I would teach my successor is to have empathy. Empathy encompasses a lifelong practice of seeing situations from the lenses of others. We emphasized the importance of doing so particularly in the discussions about connecting with different styles, aligning different backgrounds, drivers and motivations, active listening, difficult conversations, challenging your team, teamwork and conflict, stages of change, multi-generational workplaces, and training across generations. First and foremost, concentrating on empathy will encourage the successor to become self aware about their own emotions so that they can be available to support other people. Highlighting the importance of empathy would ensure that the successor’s primary focus goes from being responsible for getting a job done to being responsible for the people who are getting the job done (Sinek 2016). Empathy is being concerned about the human being not just their output (Sinek 2016). Prioritizing the people over the production is a great way to establish trust which, Manning (2014) emphasized, is absolutely crucial to be a quality leader.

Considering the current era we live in, empathy needs to be taught. There is so much impatience in this generation (Sinek 2016). Everything comes instantaneously (Sinek 2016). People have falsely applied the law of instant gratification to life fulfillment (Sinek 2016). As a result, people may not have learned the skillset of getting comfortable with someone. However, we are social animals and we need it (Sinek 2016). A quality leader needs to show others that it is safe to rely on them. It is a way to support followers in terms of them buying into the company vision.


Manning, George. 2014. The Art of Leadership. New York: McGraw-Hill

Sinek, Simon. 2016. “Most Leaders Don’t Even Know the Game They’re In.” Live2Lead 2016. YouTube. Nov. 2, 2016. Video, 35:08.

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