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  1. Daylan Williams
    August 30, 2021 @ 8:48 am

    Sir, I’m curious to know if you think having empathy in either direction is more important than the other? And when it comes to an extreme conflict when choosing to have empathy for one would upset the other, which you should choose as a leader?

    *I am under the assumptions that this post is somewhat of response to the reactions of military members to “higher” leadership’s strategic decision about Afghanistan and the actions of LTC Stuart Scheller (


    • jbowen100
      August 30, 2021 @ 10:29 am

      Daylan, great question. First, this post was not focused on or inspired by the recent events in AFG. While certainly related, I did schedule this post prior to these significant events.
      Second, I wouldn’t argue that one “type” of empathy is more important than the other; both are critical to lead well. I would say, however, is that empathy down to those we lead tends to be the topic of greater emphasis that receives a lot of attention with extensive content on. I just argue that empathy up is also important AND more often ignored. Hoping this can maybe just surface a possible blind spot in leaders to bring more awareness and ultimately improved relationships UP and down the chain.
      Hope that helps! And great question!


      • Daylan Williams
        August 30, 2021 @ 4:46 pm

        Sir, That absolutely makes sense! The world works in mysterious ways when it comes to timing of events completely unrelated! -Daylan

  2. COL Kyle Marsh
    September 21, 2021 @ 12:05 pm

    Daylan – this is a great leader attribute that is rarely discussed. We are so attuned and practice empathy down but as we mature and promote, especially into the field grade ranks, the skill of empathy-up is a skill that allows the more senior officers to appreciate the decision space of our senior leaders and provide context of the “why” a directive or order was given. It also allows the season leader, with a kit bag of experience and intuition, the ability to better communicate down when one pauses and “thinks up”. Hope this helps.


  3. Daylan Williams
    September 21, 2021 @ 10:39 pm

    Sir, Absolutely! I appreciate your perspective on this important topic!


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