On the fallacy of apolitical leadership (tales from the front)

Amy Jo Kim
2 min readJan 19, 2021

Recently, a design leader in our Digital Health coaching group shared a powerful story about leadership – one that’s extra-relevant this week.

Shortly after the January 6th insurrection, everyone at her startup gathered for a company-wide meeting that’d been previously scheduled. And…

to her surprise, the CEO failed to address what had just happened. He didn’t acknowledge or mention the traumatizing situation that was distressing and distracting her team.

And as a natural result of this sequence of events, many employees wondered… why?

Was he oblivious? Complicit? Or something worse?

That created a vacuum.

By not taking a stance on troubling events, he sowed anxiety and doubt among his staff. My client felt that, because she had direct reports.

She went to HR to offer feedback and get clarity — & was abruptly. shut down.

And now here’s where it gets interesting. Instead of stewing, she called a department-wide meeting.

She mustered her courage, acknowledged the troubling situation, and admitted how personally challenging it is for her to share difficult feelings.

Hearing that, her team exploded with thanks and gratitude — and shared their own hopes and fears about the situation.

Then… refreshed and re-connected…

they all got back to work with a renewed ability to focus.

The best leaders confront the elephant in the room
& help their people move through uncomfortable feelings into
clarity, connection & renewed purpose.

Amy Jo Kim

Game designer, startup coach, author, entrepreneur gamethinking.io