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TV Expert Interviews / Leadership / Jun 18, 2024 / Posted by Bill Dickinson / 96

The Essential Skills for Authentic Leadership: Empathy and Emotional Intelligence


Welcome to my latest blog post, where I, John Golden, host of the Expert Insights Interview from Sales POP! I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Bill Dickinson, an accomplished leader and author hailing from the beautiful city of Atlanta, Georgia. With nearly three decades of experience in leadership development, Bill has worked with giants like Boeing, Coca-Cola, and IBM, and has authored the book “Optimizing Self: A Guided Workbook to Elevate Your Impact as a Leader.”

Defining Authentic Leadership

In our conversation, we tackled the concept of authentic leadership—a term that’s become so ubiquitous it’s at risk of losing its significance. Bill’s definition cuts through the noise, presenting authentic leadership as a practice rooted in self-knowledge, transparency, empathy, and a commitment to empowering others. It’s about leaders who are aware of their strengths and limitations and are not afraid to show vulnerability. Authentic leaders prioritize integrity, honesty, and genuinely care for the well-being and development of their teams.

Balancing Vulnerability and Progress

Many leaders struggle with the balance between showing vulnerability and driving progress. Bill emphasizes that what we often refer to as “soft skills,” like empathy and emotional intelligence, are actually the bedrock of effective leadership. He advises leaders to be sensitive to the emotional challenges their teams face, to validate their worth, and to support their development. This approach not only fosters a nurturing environment but is also key to achieving high performance and productivity.

The Importance of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a cornerstone of empathetic leadership. Bill encourages leaders to embark on a journey of self-discovery, to understand their own value, and to seek honest feedback from others. This process is essential for personal growth and for cultivating the ability to connect with and lead others effectively.

Recognizing and Appreciating Others

Acknowledgment and recognition are powerful tools in a leader’s arsenal. Bill points out that many people are desperate for recognition, and leaders should make it a point to acknowledge the efforts and contributions of their team members. Specific and genuine praise can significantly boost confidence and productivity.

Building Trust and Handling Difficult Conversations

Sharing credit and recognizing the contributions of others are practices that build trust and lay the groundwork for supportive environments, even when difficult conversations are necessary. Bill advises leaders to incorporate feedback into their one-on-one meetings and to foster a culture of mutual feedback and openness. This approach ensures that challenging discussions are met with receptivity rather than defensiveness.


My conversation with Bill Dickinson was enlightening, to say the least. His expertise in leadership development shines through his approach to authentic leadership and his strategies for fostering self-awareness, empathy, and trust within organizations. As we wrapped up our discussion, it was clear that the journey to becoming an authentic leader is both challenging and rewarding. It requires a commitment to personal growth, a dedication to recognizing the value in others, and the courage to lead with vulnerability and integrity.

Our Host

John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist, he has conducted over 1500 video interviews of thought leaders for Sales POP! online sales magazine & YouTube Channel and for audio podcast channels where Sales POP! is rated in the top 2% of most popular shows out of 3,320,580 podcasts globally, ranked by Listen Score. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.

About Author

He is a seasoned leader and author with nearly three decades of experience in innovating and designing leadership development programs. His passion lies in equipping organizational leaders with essential competencies to thrive and empower others. With coaching, facilitation, and organizational development expertise, Bill has positively impacted companies such as Boeing, Coca-Cola Bottling, and AbbVie Biopharmaceutical. As an LGBTQ advisor to the mayor of Atlanta, he is committed to fostering inclusive and diverse organizational cultures. Bill holds a Doctorate in Leadership Development and is a Registered Corporate Coach specializing in executive coaching and team building. He was also a Catholic priest for 25 years. His book: "Optimizing Self: A Guided Workbook to Elevate Your Impact as a Leader," is a self-paced leadership development book designed to help individuals grow, improve, and celebrate their professional identity.


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