The Human Capital Institute’s recent webinar, “How the Pandemic Has Changed Leaders for the Better,” addresses the collective “awakening” many organizations have been experiencing, causing them to turn their attention to the needs - both personal AND professional - of their employees.

It highlights findings from the “Leading With Humanity: The Future of Leadership and Coaching” report by the Institute of Coaching (IOC) at McLean/Harvard Medical School. 

AceUp’s VP of Coaching Impact, Rach SebellShavit, sat down with Margaret Moore, co-founder and chair of the IOC, to talk about the ways the pandemic has allowed a rare opportunity for organizations to change the way they lead. 

jason-goodman-Oalh2MojUuk-unsplash“If you really stand back,” she said, “everything we do in organizational life is ultimately serving humans, whether it’s collecting taxes to distribute them, making bicycles so you can get around … everything we do is for humans. In the end, we are leading for humanity, but I don’t think that’s where people are yet in terms of worldview, so we went with ‘Leading With Humanity’.”

Moore described how, when we look at people, we tend to look through them to the result we desire. We don’t see people first. But, because of the abrupt shock and immense human suffering caused by the pandemic, leaders could no longer look through their people, whose lives were turned upside down. Their people were scared, worried, and confused. The future became entirely unknown.


The focus on the individual’s needs and resilience ultimately is the driver of organizational resilience. The folks we talked to saw that with their own eyes. I don’t think that was so obvious before, that the way organizations become resilient is by intentionally and genuinely focusing on the human need.


From the information gained in their interviews, Moore said that if you see people and attempt to understand what they need, what they want, and where they are, and do it well, they will be willing to follow you through a crisis. Organizations don’t change easily, she said, and that can’t happen in a crisis. Organizations need to move toward a productive change. 

dylan-ferreira-HJmxky8Fvmo-unsplash“If you lean in, and be with people as they are, they will come with you,” said Moore.”The focus on the individual’s needs and resilience ultimately is the driver of organizational resilience. The folks we talked to saw that with their own eyes. I don’t think that was so obvious before, that the way organizations become resilient is by intentionally and genuinely focusing on the human need.”

Asked by SebellShavit what her one takeaway from this report would be, Moore said she and the other fellows who put together the report have endeavored to connect the findings of their interviews to existing research. 


Compassionate leaders are keenly aware of how their actions affect others and how their influence can actively shape the experience for everyone.


“Interestingly, there’s been an expanded view of a framework called ‘compassionate leadership’,” she said, citing that there are many different business frameworks out there, “and this really spoke to us as the one that really summed up where we are.” 

Quoting a leader who was interviewed in the report, Moore said, “We haven’t been human enough. The pandemic is providing us with an opportunity.”

Compassionate leaders set themselves apart, she added, because they come from a place of integrity and presence. “Within that space, they’re awake. They’re keenly aware of how their actions affect others and how their influence can actively shape the experience for everyone.”