Creating Compassion & Empathy In The Workplace with Candice Gottlieb-Clark

Listen to the episode right here.

Candice Gottlieb-Clark’s work as an Author, Business Advisor and Coach can be summed up in one sentence: helping leaders and organizations create thriving work environments. And to thrive you need empathy in the workplace.

She helps businesses of all sizes and from various industries, and their leaders, through coaching, speaking, and her new book Find, Fix, Fill Your Leadership Gap.

She shares….

  • What workplace should be all about, and how to build empathy in the workplace
  • Why it’s better to vindicate vs villainize
  • How leaders gain their employees trust 
  • How to find, fix, fill your leadership gap
  • Common mistakes that create and widen the leadership gap
  • How to build trust in 4 steps

Podcast Highlights

Who’s Candice Gottlieb-Clark?

Candice Gottlieb-Clark’s work as an Author, Business Advisor and Coach can be summed up in one sentence: helping leaders and organizations create thriving work environments.

She helps businesses of all sizes and from various industries, and their leaders, through coaching, speaking, and her new book Find, Fix, Fill Your Leadership Gap.

What Should Your Workplace Be All About?

For Candice, the workplace should be a place where people can really have a positive experience, not where they go to be miserable.

This actually stems from her childhood, seeing her mother working in places where she was unhappy and witnessing her bringing that misery back home.

That led Candice to focus on helping companies create vibrant workplaces where people feel motivated, appreciated and are happy to contribute to their work environment becoming a better one. It’s people, not other things, that make it so hard for some workplaces to be a place people really want to go to and thrive in.

Vindicate Don’t Villainize

Change is something that people fear when it’s not their idea, but change is a part of life and growth

In her 20 years of experience in this space, Candice has noticed that, in most cases, when something doesn’t work it can often be traced back to leadership. And that’s where she typically focuses a good part of her work toward. 

To make change happen, it’s important for leadership to be vulnerable and to be able to recognize that some things should be done differently.

When trying to bring change about, however, it’s important to vindicate, not to villainize people. Most people tend to try to do their best – even when things don’t have the desired outcome.

It’s important to recognize that. This is true especially when going into conversations, meetings, etc.. Leaders should try to understand a person and have a will to vindicate them, rather than simply look at them as the villain that needs to be shamed or disciplined.

This mindset shift can serve as a catalyst that leads to people being open to create change, since people are open to being vindicated but not to being villainized.

When leaders are open to change, are authentic and compassionate, they contribute to the opening up of pathways to success for their team. Moreover, they help their team members self-reflect on what they can do differently to support a positive work environment.

How Leaders Can Gain Their Employees’ Trust

The recipe for gaining your employees’ trust as a leader isn’t that complicated: you do so by being transparent and honest and by not being afraid to show vulnerability.

It doesn’t stop at showing, though. Telling and taking concrete steps to show your employees that you’re open to feedback and that you’re working to change things that need to be improved is going to trigger reciprocity in them.

The more humility and openness leaders show, the more likely their teams are to reciprocate their feelings, attitudes, and actions. 

Find, Fix, Fill Your Leadership Gap

Candice wrote her new book to have an impact and help all the individuals, communities, and businesses she isn’t able to help through her coaching, as well as to give her clients and connections a centralized resource that included many of her pieces of advice, strategies, and resources.

In Find, Fix, Fill Your Leadership Gap, Candice uses three stories of clients she has worked with in the past and teaches the lesson through these three stories. The three leaders featured in the book are:

  • a legacy leader who grew up within the company,
  • a leader who came from the outside and took over an established team and tried to create meaningful change,
  • a leader that was sort of in the middle but was brought in to establish a new team nonetheless.

Candice decided to opt for such an approach in her book because she believes utilizing such an angle helps people be more self-reflective when they have someone else other than themselves to look at.

The book and work have helped her identify three key traits great leaders share: trust, role clarity, and conflict management. It’s a three-legged stool – if any of the three is weak, it will take down the other two.

And when it comes to conflicts, it isn’t about actually solving conflicts, it’s about how to help get conflicts resolved.

Common Mistakes That Create and Widen the Leadership Gap

There are a few trends Candice has identified that contribute to organizations lacking at least one of the three key leadership traits of trust, role clarity, and conflict management.

The first trend is to use the expression ‘trust me’. Using it is a mistake because ‘trust me’ basically translates into ‘I don’t trust you with all the details…’.

What a leader should do instead is to share what’s going on and explain why they believe a certain course of action is the best one for a particular situation. After that, they should ask people whether they have any thoughts or concerns about it.

How to Build Trust in 4 Steps

There are four steps to creating trust (and creating empathy in the workplace), according to Candice Gottlieb-Clark.

The first one is transparency – sharing information, providing people with the details and knowledge they need.

Most people are competent and intelligent, and will probably end up drawing similar conclusions to the ones you would draw without you having to tell them ‘trust me’.

Then, there’s honesty. Being honest is one thing but being transparent is another. It’s important to embrace and exercise both. The third point, openness, means being receptive to the information, input, learning and feedback you get from others.

And, lastly, there’s respect. If you do all the three things listed above without respect, you aren’t going to build trust, you’re going to create discord and distrust, instead.

Keep this acronym in mind: T.H.O.R. – Transparency, Honesty, Openness, and Respect.

In Candice’s experience, transparency is the area many leaders and organizations often struggle with because they aren’t sure what to be transparent about.

Sometimes, you may not be able to be fully transparent and that’s ok as long as it’s justified. A confidentiality agreement, for instance, might allow you to only share certain information but not other information with people.

It’s important for you to keep in mind that the lessons discussed in Find, Fix, Fill Your Leadership Gap are going to be different depending on what your organization is all about (though there’s one key common denominator: knowing).

About Candice Gottlieb-Clark

Candice Gottlieb-Clark is a renowned Author, Business Advisor, Speaker, Coach and Conflict Management Specialist. She founded Dynamic Team Solutions to help businesses strengthen their leaders and teams through enhanced communication, teamwork, leadership, and conflict management.

Along with her team of expert coaches, trainers, and facilitators, Candice has successfully worked with private companies, public institutions, non-profit, and governmental agencies in industries including entertainment, education, medical, legal, financial, manufacturing, and professional services. At Dynamic Team Solutions, our core expertise is in handling the one thing all industries share – people.

Candice holds a master’s degree in Counseling and is a Board-Certified Executive Coach. She is a sought-after keynote speaker and writer on topics including Leadership, Communication, and Team Dynamics. Candice is a contributing writer with Forbes coaches council and has been published in Business Insider and other mainstream publications. Her newly published book, Find, Fix, Fill Your Leadership Gap, uses a narrative of real stories to illuminate key lessons in trust, role clarity, and conflict management for leaders of all types.


Dynamic Team Solutions.org (Get 2 free chapters of Candice’s new book)

Find, Fix, Fill Your Leadership Gap (on Amazon)

Forbes Coaches Council

Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodhall