5E® leadership model - COTRUGLI
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5E® leadership model

The 5 Pillars of Leadership: Empathize, Empower, Educate, Execute, and Entertain

The 5E leadership model — empathize, empower, educate, execute, and entertain—form the foundation for effective leadership. In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of leadership, it is crucial for leaders to embrace a holistic approach that encompasses various key qualities and skills. In this article, we will delve into each of these pillars, exploring their significance and how they contribute to successful leadership.

Empathize: Understanding the Human Element

At the core of leadership lies empathy, the ability to understand and connect with others on a deeper level. Empathy enables leaders to appreciate the perspectives and emotions of their team members, fostering trust, and building strong relationships. By actively listening, demonstrating compassion, and acknowledging diverse viewpoints, leaders create an inclusive and supportive environment that promotes collaboration and unleashes the full potential of their teams.

How to harness the skills:

  • Active listening techniques: Leaders can employ active listening skills such as paraphrasing, clarifying, and summarizing to demonstrate understanding and make team members feel valued.
  • Emotional intelligence assessments: use tools like emotional intelligence assessments to better understand colleagues’ emotions and their team members’ emotions, enhancing their ability to empathize.

Empower: Unleashing Potential and Encouraging Growth

Great leaders understand that true success lies in empowering their team members to reach their full potential. By delegating responsibilities, providing autonomy, and encouraging innovation, leaders inspire a sense of ownership and motivation within their teams. By nurturing a culture of trust and growth, leaders cultivate an environment where individuals feel empowered to take risks, learn from their experiences, and contribute to the collective success of the organization.

What tools to use:

  • Delegation and autonomy: Delegation tasks and provide team members with the autonomy to make decisions, allowing them to take ownership and grow in their roles.
  • Feedback and recognition: Regular feedback and recognition empower individuals by acknowledging their efforts, reinforcing positive behavior, and fostering a culture of appreciation. Do it on a regular basis, learn the right way, and lock your calendar for doing it properly.

Educate: Cultivating Continuous Learning

Leadership is an ongoing journey of growth and development. Effective leaders prioritize education and continuous learning, both for themselves and their teams. By fostering a culture of curiosity and knowledge-sharing, leaders encourage their team members to expand their skills, stay updated on industry trends, and embrace new ideas. Through mentorship, coaching, and providing resources for professional development, leaders cultivate a learning environment that nurtures individual and organizational growth.


  • Training programs and workshops: carefully plan and organize training programs and workshops to enhance the skills and knowledge of their team members, providing opportunities for continuous learning.
  • Mentorship and coaching: Pairing team members with mentors or coaches can provide personalized guidance, support, and opportunities for skill development. As a team Transformation Professional Coach, I can assure you that pot or team coaching is way better than individual one.

Execute: Turning Vision into Action

The fourth pillar of the 5E Leadership model is execution. Execution is like a coin. It is about performance and goals. And as a coin, it has 2 sides.

Side 1 – A leader’s ability to execute is paramount to achieving organizational goals. It involves translating vision into actionable plans, setting clear objectives, and effectively managing resources. Leaders must inspire their teams to embrace a shared purpose and align their efforts toward a common goal. By providing guidance, prioritizing tasks, and establishing accountability, leaders create a culture of execution that drives tangible results and fosters a sense of achievement.

Side 2 – There is also 2nd, a less favorable aspect of execution in this model as well. Move bad performers, culture spoilers, and hostile members out of the team as quickly as possible. If you did the empowerment, education and empathy right and the attitude does not fit, you did all you could. Delaying inevitably will harm the rest of the team and the company’s results.

What can you do for the best team building:

  • Goal setting and action planning: establish clear goals and develop action plans in collaboration with teams, ensuring everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
  • Project management tools: Utilizing project management tools helps leaders track progress, manage resources, and facilitate effective communication throughout the execution process.
  • Process automation to avoid micromanagement and time waste.
  • Communication: inform your team about your decisions and give them a proper explanation.

Entertain: Harnessing the Power of Engagement

While it may seem unconventional, the ability to entertain holds significant importance in leadership. Effective leaders understand the power of engaging and captivating their audience, whether it’s during team meetings, presentations, or informal conversations. Leaders capture attention, inspire, and communicate their ideas effectively by employing storytelling techniques, injecting humor, and creating an atmosphere of enthusiasm. Entertainment helps build connections, stimulates creativity, and encourages open dialogue, resulting in a more vibrant and motivated team.

5E Leadership Model

Leadership is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a balance of various qualities and skills. 5E leadership model by Irena Grofelnik, TTPC – empathize, empower, educate, execute, and entertain – provide a comprehensive framework for effective leadership. By embracing empathy, empowering individuals, fostering continuous learning, executing plans with precision, and harnessing the power of engagement, leaders can create thriving environments where individuals can excel and organizations can flourish. Through the application of these pillars, leaders can pave the way for positive change, inspire greatness, and drive success.

About the Author

Irena Grofelnik, TTPC,  graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana, majoring in banking and finance. She continued her professional development at COTRUGLI Business School. For a number of years, she has been the ambassador of the COTRUGLI Alumni Club in Slovenia, and a Cherie Blair Woman Foundation mentor, also involved in the mentorstvo.si program. As an author, he publishes professional articles on Brainz magazine and Novipodjetnik portals. She is a well-known trainer and coach who leads teams and helps individuals develop potential and achieve above-average results. She has a rich long history of experience in sales and leading sales teams in the FMCG, real estate, and services area. Her areas of activity include experience in sales, internationalization of business, market development, and opening new sales channels. As an external consultant, she participates in due diligence and transformation of the companies, where she is responsible for sales functions.

With more than 20 years of experience in the economy, in the last few years, she mainly work on the development of leaders of domestic and international companies.