How To Be A Supportive Leader

The key to helping friends during tough times? Use empathy and avoid doling out advice. Saying how you are feeling is a lot harder than telling somebody what to do. But it is a far more vulnerable and trustworthy place to begin. When you really listen to your friend, you will hear something far more rewarding than the empty echo of your own brilliance. 

We know this is going to feel super-hard. It will get easier over time. If you take nothing else away, remember this: Almost never, ever, dole out advice at all.


"You must feel ________." "I'm sorry."
"I know how you feel." Wow, that can be hard."
"I felt _____ when I ______." "What's that like for you?"
"What happened to me was _____."

""That happened to me, but I want to

know: How are you?"

"You should try _____." Advise nothing, or only offer a resource if it's requested.
"Did this happen because you _____?"

"What is known about why this happened?"

(Ask "why" questions cautiously.)

"Oh no! But what about _____?"

Be concerned, but stay calm and offer

no examples of worst case scenarios.

"I wouldn't worry." Listen to the source of worry.
"You're a saint. I could never do it..." "You're doing a great job under the circumstances."