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Authenticity with Empathy

Another lesson in leadership focuses on providing assistance to our colleagues when they are facing difficulties. Authentic leaders show sincere empathy toward others in their times of need, regardless of rank or position. In his book titled The End of the Third Reich, Marshal Chuikov recalled a particular instance when a fellow general was experiencing a challenging time of contacting his soldiers out in the field, as sometimes happened during the war. Instead of ignoring or dismissing his comrade, Chuikov expressed genuine empathy and accompanied him in locating his troops:

Photo: Colonel-General Chuikov with soldiers from the 8th Guards Army

“On the eastern outskirts of Nowe Miasto (in Poland) I met the commander of the 1st Tank Corps, Colonel-General Katukov. He had no staff with him and was having great difficulty in making contact with his units in the field, to establish what the precise position was. We decided to go on together along the main road to Rawa-Mazowiecka, with a unit from the 29th Guards Rifle Corps” (85).

Needless to say, they were successful in finding Katukov’s troops with the local residents in Poland, who had invited them to have dinner together in celebration of their liberation from the Germans. The armies of Katukov and Chuikov formed part of the 1st Belorussian Front, eventually assaulting Berlin and winning the war in Europe. Twice Hro of the Soviet Union Mikhail Katukov remained with his soldiers in Germany after the war and was later promoted to the rank of Marshal of the Armored Troops.


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