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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Mar 11, 2022

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by Kristan Chavious and Quincy Jordan, two returning guests and colleagues.


In this episode, they are discussing the very special topic of empathy and how it can be a challenge to practice it in fast-paced settings; it can be tough to reconcile empathy with moving fast but there is a significant value in it.


Key Takeaways

  • Different ways to bring empathy into an Agile Team:
    • Empathy is known as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.
    • Empathy is also being able to understand someone else’s values.
    • Get outside of your personal experience to see it through the eyes of others and connect with their emotional and psychological response to an event.
  • Leading Agile Teams is different than leading traditional teams.
    • An Agile Team is self-organized but a leader needs to support the decisions that the Team members make versus telling them what to do.
    • Displaying a level of empathy allows the Team to grow; no Team starts as a high-performance Team, it evolves into one.
    • In traditional teams, the work done is prioritized: “Just get it done.”
  • Empathy in Self-managed Teams:
    • Expectations must be addressed, especially in regard to job descriptions.
    • Team members have to know that they have permission to make certain decisions.
    • The culture needs to be shifted from fearing failure to celebrating it. Leaders must be able to support their teams in their failures.
  • Empathy should be demonstrated top-down and bottom-up.
  • Participating in meetings, turning on cameras, and really being present are crucially important to foster empathy and better communication.
    • Assume a good intent, “You know they mean well,” even in the most tense scenarios.
    • When you realize someone is having a bad day, try to adjust and to help who is in need at that particular moment (if it is an ongoing attitude, that is simply abuse).


Mentioned in this Episode:

Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, by Celeste Headlee

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World, by John Mark Comer


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