Michael Bungay Stanier: How to Work with (Almost) Anyone

Empathy is a superpower, yes, but what about those people you just truly believe are unbearable to work or talk with? I know someone is coming to mind for you. And how much more complicated does it get when you work for that someone, or they work for you?

Today, I am delighted to share my conversation with leadership coach, speaker, and best-selling author Michael Bungay Stanier. Michael and I talked about the difference between leadership and coaching and the role empathy and curiosity play in those skills, why so many leaders misunderstand what coaching means, why rescuers create victims and the importance of learning how to listen. He shares the key to having Keystone Conversations to create a better working relationship. And he shares five questions that will help you build the best possible relationship with almost anyone – and why he says “almost!” Plus, we had a love fest for our mutual publisher, Page Two. Michael is a legend and as kind and generous as they come. Take a listen.


To access the episode transcript, please click on the episode title at http://www.TheEmpathyEdge.com 

Key Takeaways:

  • There are six different leadership styles, and the greatest leaders know how to utilize each of them at the appropriate times. 
  • If you’re a leader, your job is to help figure out what the right stuff is to work on, and then help get the best people to do their best work working on the stuff that matters.
  • Rescuer behavior appears to be empathetic and kind, but it’s actually being nosy and it hurts more than it help others in adult-to-adult relationships. 
  • You are doing the work of leading when you’re doing the work of self-care and self-reflection.


“I do believe…that every working relationship can be better. If you could make all of them 10-15% better, that would make a difference, because not just your success at work, but your happiness at work is dependent on the quality of your working relationships.” —  Michael Bungay Stanier

Episode References: 

Brand Story Breakthrough course to help you craft a clear, compelling brand story  – includes weekly office hours with Maria!

About Michael Bungay Stanier:

Michael Bungay Stanier is best known for The Coaching Habit, the best-selling coaching book of the century and recognized as a classic. His most recent book, How to Work with (Almost) Anyone, shows how to build the Best Possible Relationship with the key people at work. Michael was a Rhodes Scholar, and was recently awarded the coaching prize by Thinkers50, “the Oscars of Management.”

Connect with Michael Bungay Stanier:  

MBS.works: https://www.mbs.works/ 

X: https://www.twitter.com/mbs_works 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelbungaystanier 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mbs_works-113849977032317 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mbs_works 

Book: How to Work with (Almost) Anyone: Five Questions for Building the Best Possible Relationships

Check out a FREE Video example of Michael’s Keystone Conversation at: https://bestpossiblerelationship.com/ 

Join the tribe, download your free guide! Discover what empathy can do for you: http://red-slice.com/business-benefits-empathy


Connect with Maria: 

Get the podcast and book: TheEmpathyEdge.com

Learn more about Maria and her work: Red-Slice.com

Hire Maria to speak at your next event: Red-Slice.com/Speaker-Maria-Ross

Take my LinkedIn Learning Course! Leading with Empathy

LinkedIn: Maria Ross

Instagram: @redslicemaria

X: @redslice

Facebook: Red Slice

Threads: @redslicemaria

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