CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Spotlight - CEO Spotlight: HR Trailblazer and Founder of Fulcrum HR Consulting Kelly Kubicek Shares Her Secrets to Empathetic Leadership

CEO Spotlight

CEO Spotlight: HR Trailblazer and Founder of Fulcrum HR Consulting Kelly Kubicek Shares Her Secrets to Empathetic Leadership

Kelly Kubicek

Kelly Kubicek loves a challenge. Whether she’s streamlining government payroll systems or putting the ‘human’ back in human relations for multinational corporations, her ‘get it done without being a jerk’ mentality has won her legions of returning clients and top-notch recommendations. 

The founder of Fulcrum HR Consulting has saved the State of Nebraska thousands of dollars and hours through her precise and systematic management while freeing up funds for desperately needed state projects. She was also a young mother that, more recently, survived cancer.

She’s a new member of the exclusive, invite-only Forbes Council, where C-suite execs, disruptors, and entrepreneurs get together to network, skillshare, and brainstorm. In the few months since she joined, she’s published six popular, thought-provoking articles on trending topics in the HR sphere.

But, despite all that she’s beat back and overcome, her deep knowledge of and passion for leading with empathy is one of her proudest achievements.   

Her consultancy focuses on HR consulting, training, development, and outsourcing to provide clients with time-saving tools, higher productivity, better retention rates, the ability to target the right talent, and, of course, maximizing ROI. 

“You never know what someone else is going through, so treat them with care, respect, and an open mind,” she said of her HR style, honed from years of hearing people’s stories and recalling her own struggles to provide top-quality services for clients while suffering from health or other issues behind the scenes. 

Over her 13 years in the HR biz, she’s been thrilled to see — and spearhead — more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse HR styles. Here are her best tips for taking charge and leading your team with fearless empathy. 

Listen Deeply

Listen more than you talk and use active listening techniques to ensure your mind doesn’t stray. These include paying close attention to what’s being said (or not being said), actively avoiding judgemental thinking, taking time to reflect on what was said, paying attention to nonverbal cues, clarifying unclear points, and the ability to summarize what was said to you.

These epic listening tools make your staff or clients feel heard and comfortable sharing concerns and issues. Empathetic leaders are trusted leaders, and trusted leaders often have the loyalty and respect of their colleagues. 

Bulk Up Empathy With Compassion 

Compassion and empathy go hand-in-hand. “While empathy means we can see someone else’s point of view and even understand their feelings, compassion hits it outta the field by adding the genuine desire to help,” said Kubicek. 

While this might sound basic, it’s a life lesson many of us stray from when we enter the professional world. Instead of trying to see the point of view of a struggling employee or mediate a dispute, how many of us spend our time thinking about what we’re going to have for dinner or what the traffic will be like on the way home? Too many, according to Kubicek. 

She suggests actively trying to put yourself in the employee’s shoes and think about how your performance might compare or what decisions you might make if you were them. This will help to develop your skills as an empathetic leader. 

Keep Team Burnout in Check

Burnout is the scourge of the modern working world. On one hand, we’re told to do ‘more, more, more,’ but over time, that causes stress and mental unwellness — and the perfect recipe for burnout. 

As a leader with empathy, look for signs of burnout in employees and actively work to stop the factors causing it. Be sure that employees take their leave and limit late nights and weekend work. 

Good bosses and HR pros can spot the signs of burnout from a mile away. And they know that, most often, they lead to poor performance, low engagement, mental health breakdowns, and resignations. 

Kubicek suggests setting a time each week when you walk around and talk to each employee simply to gauge possible burnout. 

“Go and talk to them on a Monday afternoon,” suggests Kubicek, “see who looks exhausted, who says they worked all weekend, or who seems disengaged. Those are the ones to watch for burnout and begin taking steps to help immediately. The first and easiest is to ask how they are and how you can help them.”

With this valuable and human-led advice, we’re sure to become better leaders at work and will turn to Kubicek for leadership advice anytime.

About Kelly Kubicek

Kelly Kubicek, CEO of Fulcrum HR Consulting, is on a mission to make HR more transparent. Fulcrum HR Consulting boasts vast HR experience, including accomplishments such as consolidating the entirety of over 9000 Nebraska state employees in one system in under 12 months and extensive work in Diversity and Inclusion efforts. To discover how to uplevel your HR Process visit here.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Spotlight - CEO Spotlight: HR Trailblazer and Founder of Fulcrum HR Consulting Kelly Kubicek Shares Her Secrets to Empathetic Leadership
Lisa Brown
Lisa Brown is the opinion editor for News and Initiatives at the CEOWORLD magazine, supervising coverage that includes consumer issues, technology, travel, life, and money news. She's a California native who grew up in the Central Valley. Lisa is also an editor on the Breaking News desk and oversees stories of national significance. Reach her at