The Company We Keep is a column on the CN&CO blog that profiles some of the most interesting people in our networks. Here we share the details of the lives of people we know, showcasing the extraordinary diversity of our society and proving that people truly are at the heart of everything we do. From time to time on our blog we feature guest contributions, this piece was written by Jenny Griesel who is a PR wizard and good friend of our Rikus Kok.

Sometimes someone comes across your path and they are an absolute breath of fresh air. Perhaps because they see the world differently, perhaps because their optimism is contagious or perhaps their passion for what they do is just so wonderful to experience that you wish there were more people like that in the world. When author & regenerative leadership specialist Mimi Nicklin contacted me a few weeks ago, she was all of these things. I immediately knew that this was someone I wanted to help succeed. Her great passion and what makes her unique is that she is building her brand around empathy. Yes, empathy in business, empathy in relationships and empathy in everyday life… exactly what the world needs right now.

So, when Carel Nolte offered me the chance to write a guest blog post for CN&CO, I knew it had to be about Mimi. I have learnt so much from her in a very short time and couldn’t resist the chance to share some of this this. By the way, I know Carel (who is an absolute legend I might add) through Rikus, who is one of my best friends. Having met most members of the CN&CO team, I love their lifestyle business style, their positive vibes and the way they approach things in general. Awesomeness appreciates awesomeness so, here, I foresee a meeting of the minds.

Let’s start at the beginning… Mimi Nicklin is the Author of Softening The Edge (her book, releasing later this year), an experienced marketer and communications specialist, and a well-respected empathetic leader. Passionate about regenerative or empathetic leadership, she is committed to working with leaders around the world to transform workplaces into more valuable and sustainably healthy places to be.

She does this in various ways. Mimi hosts the weekly online breakfast show Empathy for Breakfast, on Tuesday mornings at 8 AM. At a snappy  17 minutes long, this show provides business leaders, marketers and communicators with a dose of insight, inspiration and practical knowledge that will empower you to navigate the week ahead with empathy. Tune in here and or watch a previous episode here. Her podcast, Secrets of the Gap (the empathy gap that is) is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast platforms. Listen to a podcast here.

Mimi recently had an article published on FA News about how CEOs will soon need to become chief empathy officers. Titled  “How fighting a virus is creating a new role in the C suite,” she cleverly points out how the foreseeable future is anything but normal, and leaders, teams and organisations will benefit tremendously from empathetic leadership. Here is a short snippet of the article:

1) Truly Regenerative Leaders will ensure they have a deep understanding of others

Lee Hsien Loong, Jacinda Ardern and Satya Nadella are examples of those that make it their business to put humanity beyond the bottom line. The current context means our business success relies on our people to lead our economics and indeed, if our people thrive the economics will follow, if not immediately then sustainably as we recover together. To prosper in the months ahead of us every CEO needs to be a Chief Empathy Officer above all else.

2) Regenerative Leaders understand that performance is emotionally led

Our cognitive ability is inextricably linked with our emotional system. At the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the need for safety and security. These are humanity’s basics. When people feel safe they grow, they perform, they can commit. When people are working in environments fuelled by stress and isolation they are unable to optimally deliver on their potential as well as finding themselves lacking in loyalty, trust and strategic thinking.

3) Recognition that relationship building is based on trust defeating turmoil

Leaders of trust fuel calm from the chaos. Trust is built from listening to people around you. It will be in listening to your teams to hear them, and not simply to reply, that we will drive incremental growth. More than ever the role now of those responsible for a team is to talk less and listen more, to ask more poignant questions and to recognise that everyone that has a story, has value.

Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

So, if this appeals to you, tune in for Mimi’s weekly Empathy with Breakfast show, or follow her on social media (Instagram: @MimiNicklin or LinkedIn: Mimi Nicklin) because there is a whole lot more where this came from.

And since a lot of people in the insurance industry read this blog, you’ll also be pleased to know that Mimi will be speaking for a webinar hosted by the Insurance Institute of South Africa on Wednesday 10 June, from 9:00 – 10:00. You can even qualify for CPD points by listening to her speak about “Why Empathy might be your secret Superpower”. Book here! I bet you will find her thoughts and perspectives as refreshing as I do, and you may even discover your own secret superpower in the process.

For more CN&CO stories to help you grow your business and lead your best life, follow us on @cnandco.