by | Apr 7, 2022

The notion of leadership derives many views. You only have to spend a short amount of time with someone be it over a coffee, a meal or a walk and they will without question give you their view point of what leadership is and how that makes them feel. Great leaders past and present have one thing in common – not only are they exceptional at leading a group of people but they deeply ‘care’ and want only the very best for those around them!

In today’s leadership blog I share a view that I have long held.

The #1 trait/behaviour that a leader must have is the Helper/Empathy Trait.

Way before any of us who are reading this blog today 5th April 2022 were born leaders used to rule their business with an ‘iron-fist’. Empathy or helping others may have seemed somewhat bizarre to them, even though they may have really wanted to act in such a way they would have felt it was a sign of ‘weakness’.

If a leader is truly going to lead people, if a leader is going to move others to a common place, if a leader is going to last the test of time then he/she will only do this with an abundance of ‘empathy’. The ‘alpha types’ who have just read that last part will know skip over any more of today’s blog and onto something else.

To those who are still here wanting to learn, cultivate and embrace such a move will in my humble view be the beacons of life into the future.

Over many generations the very essence of leadership has not only shifted it has changed the very landscape of what Boards, Shareholders, Investors, customers and staff want. Individuals are turning their backs on leaders who they are not aligned to. Leaders who lead with behaviours such as ‘force’ ‘dominance’ disrespect and or disregard will wake up to having no one left around them.

Many a scholar, professor, and fellow human have studied, written and spoken about empathy, you only have to type in the words to your search engine to find miles of pages full of thought. Over many years I have had the pleasure of coaching all types of CEOs, senior executives and future leaders. None have ventured into the coaching work I do with out opting into putting in the hard work needed to develop themselves into better leaders, none have them have been ‘forced’ to get a coach, none of them have asked for the silver bullet (which by the way I don’t have) they have all just agreed to start!

A recent study in the Academy of Management Journal found when people are on the receiving end of rudeness at work, their performance suffers and they are less likely to help others. And a new study from a well know American university found rude behaviour is rising and the effects are extensive, including reduced performance and collaboration, deteriorating customer experiences and increased turnover.

So as we move on in today’s blog consider how your leadership behaviour is actually making a positive or negative dent on those you lead!

The Helper Trait/Empathy meaning!

  • The Functions of Empathy and Altruism. The potential for other-directedness, thoughtfulness for others, genuine self-sacrifice, generosity, and nurturance. Negatively, the potential for intrusiveness, possessiveness, manipulation, and self-deception.

    • Mature Helpers; caring, thoughtful and giving

    • Derailer Helpers; manipulative, possessive, complain a lot!

Leaders who are predominant Helpers have strong connection/feelings for others. Their sense of ‘self’ is that they are sensitive, caring leaders yet, when derailing their act of kindness and care are not forthright! When you peel back the onion, leaders who posses a predominant Helper trait can have a problem with their identity. Derailing Helpers often deny their aggressiveness toward others and frequently conceal their hostility even from themselves.

The approach to leadership of a Helper when mature is you enjoy mutual relationships with your people. You show patence and staying power and make relationships work! Typically you are not comfortable with conflict. When mature you are a great coach and teacher because of your selflessness in your need to help others.

There are many specific ways to strengthen this vital trait and ensure you are growing as an empathetic leader. When working with CEOs, senior executives and future leaders I am always taking a interest in how my clients show up in this space.

As leaders who look to advance, your ability to take others with you will be a huge asset possibly the ‘make or break’. Consider how your ‘helper’ trait is or isn’t enabling that.

Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability to those you trust and continue to look deep in the mirror each and every day. Things will go well and things may cause you to make mistakes, own those mistakes, seek advice, guidance and don’t seat the small stuff (if it’s not important then let it go!)

Leadership embodies a wide range of thoughts and belief patterns, values, attitudes and behavioural tendencies. how are you leading your people?

To learn more about your own leadership style, approach etc I have some globally accredited specific tools and leadership programs ranging from 3 months to 12 months that are getting lasting behavioural results for my clients.

Simply reach out and let’s discuss more!

Nick +6421375630

contact Nick Roud


contact Nick Roud


contact Nick Roud 〰️


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630