One of the great leadership teachers of our time passed away on July 16, 2012. Dr. Stephen Covey was the author of several books, most notably the highly influential book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He wrote it way back in 1989, and yet it is still front and center in many bookstores today. In 2011, Time magazine named it one of the 25 Most Influential Business Management books of all time.

From Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit #5 is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Here is how I apply this to leadership communication: Get to know your audience … the various types of stakeholders you are hoping to influence. Spend time listening to their perspective, or at the very least, mentally imagining yourself in their place.

A great first step to understanding your audience is the Empathy Map, which is a fun exercise that takes only 15-20 minutes. In this video, I show an example of how to use the Empathy Map.

Other resources you may want to check out are:

For the transcript of this video: How to Use an Empathy Map (video transcript)