The task of being a leader over the last two years has required a great deal of empathy. Leaders are helping teams recover from the grief and loss of the pandemic, buoying the declining mental health of their employees, and being sensitive to people’s anxieties. And while being empathetic — having a close, visceral understanding of the other person’s experience — is important, acting on that feeling and exhibiting compassion will allow you to better support your people. To move from empathy to compassion, start by taking a mental and emotional step away to get a clearer perspective of the situation and the person. Creating distance may feel counterintuitive but it’s hard to see solutions when you are too emotionally involved in the problem. Of course, you also want to ask the person what they need. If it’s something you can feasibly offer, offer it. But remember that you won’t always be able to meet their requests, and in many instances, that’s ok. Taking compassionate action is sometimes a matter of listening and being a caring presence.