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Edith Cooper on why empathy should be considered a core competency for leaders

The longtime business leader explains why "soft skills" are now critical requirements for keeping teams motivated and engaged

Reading time 1 min

Edith Cooper spent three decades working on Wall Street, most recently as a partner, Executive Vice President, and the Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs. Throughout much of that time, Cooper says that “caring, being intentional, listening, and empathy” were considered “soft skills,” adjacent to or even outside of the core competencies for leadership success.

No longer, says Cooper. If you want to create an environment where all people can perform to their highest potential, particularly on today’s diverse and distributed teams, then you need to lead with empathy.

Cooper co-founded Medley, a business coaching platform, to help emerging leaders learn to be more authentic, dynamic, and inclusive. In this interview, Cooper connects the dots on why leading with empathy is the key to bringing out the best in your team.