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The Think-Feel-Do Approach in Conscious Leadership

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What’s your leadership style? Is it defined, or does it vary? 

When you’re passionate about leadership, you consume training, articles, books, and podcasts seeking best practices to be effective. There is a wide range of how-to styles; more recently, a few are emerging as essential to successful and sustainable organizations. These include empathic, compassionate, and conscious leadership. Even though they have their unique focus, they are not mutually exclusive.

I invite you to consider conscious leadership as a harmonious balance of empathic and compassionate leadership. This article explores this balance in the context of an approach I call Think-Feel-Do.

Originally, Think-Feel-Do were communication outcomes that I would discuss with senior-level executives in my former role as a strategic communications leader. The Think-Feel-Do outcomes were a key component when considering employee engagement. 

Now, the Think-Feel-Do is a frame that encapsulates how to lead consciously, empathetically, and compassionately – with the same consideration. 

THINK: Conscious

Conscious leadership is about being present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. It requires a deep understanding of your values, beliefs, and biases and an ability to recognize and challenge them when necessary. Conscious leaders can think critically and reflectively about their leadership and commit to continuous learning and growth.

To practice: Take time for reflection and self-examination. Meditate, journal, or think about your thought patterns and behaviours daily. 

FEEL: Empathetic

Empathetic leadership is about understanding and connecting with the emotions and experiences of others. It is about creating a sense of psychological safety and trust within a team or organization. Empathetic leaders are receptive to the needs of others and seek to understand their perspectives and experiences.

To practice: Listen actively and engage in active empathy. Ask questions, seek to understand diverse perspectives, and validate the emotions of others. 

DO: Compassionate

Compassionate leadership is about taking action to support, empower, and care for others. It is about recognizing the needs of individuals and supporting them in meaningful ways. Compassionate leaders create a culture of care and support within their organization.

To practice: Act. Provide resources, support, and development opportunities to struggling team members offer flexibility and understanding in response to personal or family needs or take the time to check in with individuals and show that you care.

What’s the difference between empathy and compassion?

The authors of Compassionate Leadership summarize it best, “As leaders, we must connect with others through empathy, but we have to lead with compassion.” In other words, empathy + action = compassion.

Combining the three: Best Practices

  • THINK: Conscious Leadership – Cultivate self-awareness
  • FEEL: Empathetic Leadership – Foster a culture of trust and openness
  • DO: Compassionate Leadership – Prioritize care and support

Consider this simplified approach of Think-Feel-Do as a harmonious balance to help you lead holistically with intention, understanding, and compassion – for your team and yourself. Conscious leaders create and sustain a healthy work environment that fosters growth, learning, and connection that benefits everyone. 


  1. Reference: Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter, Compassionate Leadership (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2022), 52-55.


Naomi N. Ali is the CEO of NNALI Consulting, Conscious Leadership Coach and Consultant, Author, Speaker, and Nationally Syndicated Columnist on The Price of Business Digital Network. NNALI’s mission is to champion conscious Leadership where mindset and well-being thrive for the greater good. Visit  to learn more.


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