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A leadership model that creates sustainable results and sustainable people


The long-term and ongoing pursuit of a company based on the following beliefs and characteristics:

Imagine if there was a way to increase profits while also creating workplaces where people were happy, trusting and self-confident? Where employee motivation could be boosted through increased participation and smarter utilization of individual resources? There is a way to do this, and it is called Empathetic Leadership. The method was developed by Gerhard Bley, who has extensive management experience from a number of different companies and currently serves as CEO of O. Kavli AB.

             Since the start of industrialization, mechanical leadership – inspired by the cornerstones of Taylorism – has been the norm. This leadership method relies on measuring, setting goals and rationalizing how a company is run. On paper, it’s a completely reasonable way of managing a company, but it is missing one important thing: companies and workplaces are made up of people. This is the very foundation of Empathetic Leadership: getting to know the people who run and are the company or organization, and understanding and accepting that we are all just people, with enormous capacities – and also with weaknesses

The most important tools in Empathetic Leadership are self-insight, empathy, openness, communication and reflection. The goal is sustainable results and employees who are engaged and feel happy and secure at work, who like each other and themselves, and who have real balance in their lives. The method takes its starting point in the management team because sustainable change must come from the top down. Empathetic Leadership should not be mistaken for a turnkey product ready for implementation. It isn’t a quick fix, but should instead be seen as a long-term vision for the company.

What is a Balanced Lifecard?

Balanced Scorecard is an established term in business. It refers to a simple way of evaluating how well a company is doing based on set criteria. As part of the Empathetic Leadership method, Gerhard Bley has launched the complementary term and model Balanced Lifecard to assess how well a person’s life situation is going. The key is to not allow work to overshadow other parts of your life, such as leisure and family/friends. All are important and there must be a balance if everything is to function properly.


What is Empathetic Leadership?

Gerhard Bley - Det Empatiska Ledarskapet

Gerhard Bley has defined four core values for leaders who want to work with Empathetic Leadership:


being open and honest about your strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities.


understanding yourself and how you influence and are influenced by those around you, and using these insights in your contacts and communication with your colleagues.


being engaged and building good relationships with your colleagues, and listening and caring about other people’s opinions and suggestions.


through clear prioritizations for yourself and with your colleagues, creating a balance between work and leisure, as well as time for reflection.

Gerhard has put his theories on Empathetic Leadership into practice at Kavli, and the results speak for themselves:

  • Employee job satisfaction has increased. Today, Kavli is certified as a “Great Place to Work”, an international certification standard that measures conditions at organizations. Being designated a “Great Place to Work” means that Kavli meets high demands concerning employee satisfaction and trust, and receives top scores on employee surveys.

  • Kavli’s sales have increased by over 150% in the last 10 years. Profitability has also gone up during the same period.

           A common misconception when I talk about Empathetic Leadership is that it is a permissive way to run a company. That is absolutely not the case. The difference is that the requirements set are humane, individual and reasonable according to the skills and needs of each individual employee and of the entire work team. People quite simply work better when they are seen and feel safe, and when they experience trust, empathy and warmth.

In his book Instinkt eller Insikt , Gerhard Bley goes into more depth on Empathetic Leadership and about how things went when he implemented it at Kavli.

Instikt eller insikt - Gerhard Bley - Det Empatiska Ledarskapet

Interested in booking Gerhard to speak?

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