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Leading with empathy

Lilli Höch-Corona

Leading with empathy

Better team meetings and conversations with Gefühlsmonster® Cards


First of all I would like to thank my son Christian Corona. Without him, the Gefühlsmonsters (quite literally „Emotion Monsters“) would never have come into being and I would never have been able to discover my love for lightness in my work in this way. All graphics in this book are created by him. He designed the cover, and it is thanks to his attention that the framework of the book has become coherent. He was also an invaluable help in revising the English version of my book.

Thanks to Corinna Telkamp, without whom the book would not have been created at this point. Her idea was the inner structure for the individual exercises. Thanks to her experience with mediation and training, she was able to quickly familiarize herself with my existing texts and field reports and, in close cooperation with me, to write the drafts for this book.

Thanks also to all those who have told me about their experiences with the Gefühlsmonsters over the past 15 years. Their stories have inspired me to try out and develop new things in my work – and to share it in seminars.

Thanks to Peter Metzler, Holger Buchholz, Susanne Sachse and Karin Molnar, who sent us the first feedbacks from company contexts about their experiences with the Gefühlsmonsters.

I would also like to thank our seminar participants. Together with them, my colleagues and me, we came to the insight that methods are always evolving.

Thanks to Antje Vorndran who, through her book project, encouraged me to start my own. She was the first to give me the feedback that this book was a compelling read. With her love for the English language she helped me revise this version of the book.

Thanks to Thomas Fehr, who asked colleagues for feedback on this text. This initial feedback from professionals who are not familiar with Gefühlsmonsters was the final step towards actually giving this book to the world.

Thanks to Ursula Rieger, who had a good advice for the publisher.

Thanks to Tijen Onaran for her message that only what is visible takes place. She is the first one who was able to convince me that visibility helps our work to achieve the desired level of awareness.

Thanks to the editor Erik Kinting, who answered all my questions, set clear deadlines and kept them. Thanks to the layout designer Sabine Abels, who worked assidiously through the various Gefühlsmonster depictions in the book, and who also overcame all hurdles in the English translation. Her enthusiasm about Christian's drawings motivated us to add some new icons, so that the structure is now clearly labelled with the respective icons in the margin.

Lilli Höch-Corona





Tool 1: Warm Up

Tool 2: Flash Feedback

Tool 3: Gefühlsmonster Matrix (Small Teams)

Tool 4: Sociometric Gefühlsmonster Questions

Tool 5: Scale Questions

Tool 6: Final Round

One Person

Tool 7: Meeting Preparation

Tool 8: Clarifying Your Own Feelings

Two People

Tool 9: Performance Reviews

Tool 10: Employee Feedback Tool

Tool 11: Conflict Management

Three People

Tool 12: Opening For A Conflict Moderation Or Mediation

Ending Note

This book assumes that you know or want to know about the Gefühlsmonster® Cards. Take a look at the website (see link below), to get an idea of what they look like and how they work.

The Gefühlsmonster® Cards are a tool that makes it easier to talk about feelings.

Emotions are contagious. This also applies to representations of feelings. Most of our users in various fields report that the cards make it easier for people to talk, and that they encourage sharing moods and feedback in groups. Words are found more easily looking at the Gefühlsmonsters, statements are memorized better.

The cards are offered in three sizes in the online store at


• in mini (business card size) for working at the table and on the go

• in medium (postcard size) for working with small groups

• in extra-large (full page size) for working with larger groups

QR Code our website and -store:

We offer seminars in our Gefühlsmonster Academy where you can learn how to use the Gefühlsmonsters in different areas.

More about it here:


Please contact us if you have questions:

e-mail: info@gefuehlsmonster.de

phone: +49 30/411 921 31

Gefühlsmonster GmbH

Bornholmer Strasse 19

10439 Berlin


Each chapter of this book is about feelings; about pleasant, difficult, different and common feelings, past and present, inside and outside and surprising feelings.

Feelings have a tendency to come over us sometimes at the wrong moment. This can lead to problems especially with difficult feelings. Conversations about feelings help us to better process what we have experienced, to make differences and similarities clear and to develop new ways of working together. The Gefühlsmonster® Cards can facilitate these conversations.

"I couldn't listen very well, I was too annoyed to do sobut I could still watch, and then I saw that my colleague was also feeling bad.” These were words from a mediation client in one of my first attempts to use the Gefühlsmonsters in mediation. In the 15 years that followed, I developed many other techniques in conversation with our users and colleagues, such as how the visualization of feelings can facilitate the start of a conversation, stimulate a change of perspective and make group opinions visible.

With this book, I would like to contribute to making an exchange about feelings easier and, if possible, to help create a permanently improved basis for communication.

This will not be the case for everyone, just as it is not always a good idea to talk about feelings at every moment. The decision about this is up to you, the reader.

What you will find in this book is a collection of proven tools for group work, self-management, individual counselling and conflict resolution.

Our communication is complex – and we are all different. Our experiences sometimes determine our actions more than we would like, and what we experience is as different as the world we grew up in and live in.

Being annoyed causes the usual tunnel vision, makes us not see the paths we can take, separates us from people we actually love or with whom we work on important projects.

As one of the first mediation instructors in Berlin, I quickly realized that no technique, no matter how good, could be a foolproof guide for how to handle difficult situations. Besides all that we can learn about techniques and communication, we are always challenged to get involved as a person with what makes us who we are. At the same time, good techniques can give us ideas for constructive strategies, so that we can take people and groups one step further on their path based on our knowledge, empathy and experience.

How to use this book?

I explicitly encourage you to first try out those tools that appeal to you. The best practice examples at the beginning of each tool show what the technique is all about and help you to understand the next steps. If you feel like trying out a technique, this is exactly the right place to start.

Would you like to know how the story ends?

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Enjoy your reading!