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Empathy for leaders

Updated: Jan 23

In my journey from software engineer to leader (and many roles in between), I've often been the fiery dragon that challenges the norm, breathing 🔥 into the foundations of traditional practices.


As a neurodiverse reformer, I've soared through the realms of innovation, driven by a relentless desire for betterment - increasing productivity in the way of working and treating people well, right, and fairly, always being a hyperfocus of mine. This journey hasn't just been about challenging others; it's been a profound path of self-discovery and growth.


👎 Yet, in this passionate pursuit, I admit I haven't always been the easiest to lead.


I've dismantled walls, sometimes with a roar louder than appreciated. My wings, broad with open-mindedness, occasionally cast shadows over the strategies laid by my leaders. In my quest for improvement, I've been, admittedly, a thorn (or should I say, a scale?) in their side.


🐲 But, becoming a leader myself, I've learned the value of looking upwards with empathy. This wasn't just about understanding others better; it was about evolving my own approach to leadership and inclusion.


Now, I'm not saying every leader I had was good, or some didn't carry toxicity. Regardless, I could have handled the situation better. It's about seeing the bigger picture and understanding the pressures and challenges that leaders face.


Here's how I could have done it differently:

💚 Listen with a Dragon's Ear: Just as a dragon hears the faintest rustle in its vast kingdom, I've learned to listen more intently to my leaders. Understanding their perspective is key to aligning our goals and advancing diversity and inclusion.


💚 Treasure Trove of Trust: Like a dragon guarding its precious hoard, I now understand the importance of safeguarding the trust my leaders place in me. This means respecting their strategies, even while proposing new paths.


💚 Flight of Flexibility: Dragons navigate through stormy skies with agility. Similarly, adapting to leadership decisions, even when they differ from my ideas, is crucial for harmonious flight and fostering an inclusive environment.


💚 Breath of Support: Just as a dragon's breath can forge landscapes, my support could have strengthened my leader's vision. It's about adding my fire to theirs, not extinguishing it with the winds of disagreement.


❤️‍🔥 In retrospect, showing empathy upwards is as vital as empowering those we lead. It's about understanding that even leaders need supporters and allies who can share the weight of their crown. Accountability is a heavy crown to carry.


🐉 As I continue championing diversity and inclusion, I realize that empathy isn't just horizontal; it's vertical, too. It's about building a kingdom where every dragon, knight, peasant, and woodland creature feels valued and understood.


So, to all the reformers, the boundary-pushers, the passionate dragons in the tech realm:


💪🏿💚 let's lead with empathy, not just downwards but upwards.


🔥❤️‍🔥 Let's fuel our fires with understanding and respect, creating a world where every flight is in unison towards a better tomorrow.


I invite you to share your experiences and insights. How have you navigated the challenges of leadership and empathy? Your stories are the breath that keeps this conversation fiery and alive.




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