Updated: 4 days ago
Fred Rogers said "... there isn't anyone you couldn't learn to love, once you've heard their story." I would add that hearing their story with empathy is essential. Without empathy, we only gain knowledge about their story. With empathy, we gain understanding of what it's like to have been in their shoes, to see what they saw and to feel what they felt. We no longer just have knowledge of their story, we even transcend sympathy for them, we get them, relate to them, and connect to them on a deep level. An interesting thing about empathy is that is starts at home. As John Maxwell said, "You can't give what you don't have". This is true of empathy just as much as it is true of anything. Until I have empathy for myself in all seasons of my life, including seasons of failure, mistakes, and the times I wish I had seen things so differently, I can't truly have empathy for another person. I can put on a smile, reach out a hand, say the right things, but they will always ring more hollow than if I truly understand them with empathy. Reviewing your life and giving yourself an empathetic hug during the tough times can help you do that for yourself and others in the present. I carry a picture of myself as a young child to remember to embrace that little child as he went through a lot of confusing and challenging times. Life can be really difficult and we all need empathy from ourselves and others. This extends to our work family as well. Apart from our actual family, I can think of nowhere else where empathy is so needed. In a world where feeling that empathy can be so hard to come by, and so needed, working in an empathy-based environment is a rare gift. It's impact on an organization is something I've termed A.C.E.R. This acronym stands for: - reducing Attrition - enhancing Culture - employee Engagement - increased Results
Who would have thought that understanding and caring for another person, with empathy, could have an impact on the bottom line. Imagine a work culture where people feel safe enough to be vulnerable. Most of us go through life with guards up and appearances firmly in place. What a welcome relief it would be to be ourselves, warts and all, and to be understood and accepted. It would enable us to overcome living in worry and to redirect the energy that is drained by our anxiety into creatively and energetically developing and using our strengths, which our teams and clients want and need! That would be a culture that I would never want to leave! As the culture was strengthened, staff would become increasingly engaged, brainstorming without fear of an idea being rejected, finding new ways to utilize strengths for the betterment of the team, collaborating with others with complementary strengths, gaining new levels of appreciation for each other, giving one's best to serve clients. We can only imagine the good results that would come from such a team! Reviews would be better, word of mouth would come naturally. Top performers, thinkers and engagers would want to work on your team, and naturally, the bottom line would increase. Now what organization doesn't want that? And what person doesn't want to be part of a team like that? For further development of empathy-based understanding, mental fitness, value-based leadership and living, and many other topics, send me an email at Jeff@JeffByrdCoaching.com. Trainings and workshops ranging from 2 hours to a full-day are available. Let's assess where your team is and what is the next step toward building a team that produces top results and that no one can imagine leaving!