Margie Oleson, Leading with Humanness – Empathy in Action – Innova.Buzz 609


Margie Oleson, Oleson Consulting.

Our guest in this episode is Margie Oleson, an organizational leadership and performance coach from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Margie brings a unique perspective to leadership, emphasizing the importance of humanness and emotional intelligence in organizational dynamics. Her insights offer practical strategies for leaders to foster more cohesive, empathetic, and effective teams.

Key points discussed include:

  • Embracing Emotional Intelligence: Margie highlights the significance of understanding and connecting with team members on an emotional level, transforming leadership from mere task management to human-centric guidance.
  • Effective Use of Personality Tools: She discusses the role of tools like DISC and Working Genius in nurturing empathetic leadership, focusing on how they can aid in understanding team members’ emotional profiles.
  • Cultivating Team Cohesion through Empathy: Margie underscores the leader’s role in creating an environment where empathy and understanding are paramount, leading to stronger team bonds and enhanced collaboration.

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Leadership is about connecting on a human level, not just managing tasks. #LeadershipWithHeart #InnovaBuzz @margieoleson on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Show Notes from this episode with Margie Oleson, Oleson Consulting

In the dynamic world of organizational leadership, understanding the human element is not just important – it’s essential. Today, we delve into the profound insights of Margie Oleson, an organizational leadership and performance coach, who brings a unique perspective on integrating humanness into leadership.

The Human Core of Effective Leadership The distinction between management and leadership is more than a semantic one. Margie emphasizes that while management deals with processes, true leadership is about connecting with people on a human level. She challenges organizations to foster leadership that goes beyond task delegation, focusing instead on emotional intelligence and genuine connections.

Embracing Team Dynamics and Human Elements Teams are more than just a group of people working together; they are a tapestry of human emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. Margie advocates for leaders to recognize and respect these elements within their teams. Through her coaching, she offers practical strategies to enhance team dynamics, underscoring the importance of communication and emotional awareness.

Tools for Nurturing Human-Centric Leadership Margie discusses how tools like DISC and Working Genius can be transformative in understanding team members’ emotional and psychological profiles. These tools are not just for categorizing personalities but are stepping stones to developing empathetic, human-centric leadership.

Fostering Cohesion and Human Connection in Teams A pivotal aspect of Margie’s approach is fostering team cohesion that values human connections. She suggests methods for encouraging collaboration and trust, emphasizing the leader’s role in nurturing an environment where empathy and understanding flourish.

Overcoming Challenges in Human-Centric Organizational Change Margie acknowledges the common barriers in implementing human-centered leadership and suggests embracing humanness as a strategy for overcoming these challenges. She emphasizes the need for leaders to be self-aware and to foster an environment where humanness is not just accepted but celebrated.

Embracing Humanness in Leadership In conclusion, Margie Oleson’s insights remind us that at the heart of effective leadership lies the ability to understand and embrace the human aspect of our teams and ourselves. As leaders, our challenge is to reflect on our styles, emphasizing emotional intelligence and human connections.

Develop people as your number one responsibility in leadership. #PeopleFirst #LeadershipDevelopment @margieoleson on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Margie’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. No. 1 thing to be more innovative – Be present and quiet the noise around you to tap into your own brilliance and creativity.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Engage in conversations with others; talking and listening can spark new ideas and help refine your thoughts.
  3. Favourite resource – Working Genius and DISC assessments for understanding team dynamics, and ‘Profit First’ for a fresh perspective on business finance.
  4. Keep project/client on track – Develop clear goals, check for understanding, and foster open communication to stay aligned and address challenges.
  5. Differentiate – Know yourself deeply and use your unique strengths and perspectives to stand out; don’t mimic others.


Margie encourages us to write out our goals and then check for understanding with our team. Don’t tell them what these goals are yet; instead, have each team member write down what they believe the goals are and share them. This exercise will reveal if everyone is on the same page and guide us towards clearer communication and alignment with our team.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Margie by visiting her website. Here, you can take a team assessment and explore a range of resources, or follow Margie on LinkedIn for daily insights and updates.


Cool Things About Margie

  • Margie was in corporate America for 30 years before going back to school to get a doctorate in organization development.
  • She focused her research on the gap in leadership development and spent a decade in corporate America post-graduation, trying to fill this gap, before founding Oleson Consulting.
  • Margie’s’ ex-husband’s family name was ‘Olson’ in previous generations; one of the family members changed the spelling by adding an ‘e’ to it. Margie is curious about the reasons behind this change, whether practical or mysterious.
Foster team cohesion by valuing human connections. Empathy and understanding are key. #TeamCohesion #EmpatheticLeadership @margieoleson on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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