Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Not so Fast: I Feel Your Pain!

      As I began this blog post, I had a certain theme in mind.  Then, as is often the case,  opened the October issue of a magazine which I read on a regular basis.  Everything changed. In the October 2017 issue of Fast Company magazine, there begins a theme on empathy.  Empathy in the corporate world, the executive suite, and the cafeteria (for those companies who still have cafeteria's).

     The editor began the discourse on empathy right up front.  Why was I drawn to this particular subject?  Why write about it?  Perhaps it is because I have been accused, long in the past, of not showing any!  This from the person who eventually became CEO of the company and promptly proceeded with a house cleaning of executives that rivaled The Great Purge of Stalinist Russia, but I digress a bit.   Empathy is a good thing and I wholeheartedly support it.  Even when it is espoused by those who have no earthly, or comic for that matter, idea how to practice it.  It is always easier to call out the other guy as non-empathetic.  Thus the 'Yield Sign'.  Hold on a minute.  Spoiler Alert, your new star galaxy enabled phone will not help you practice empathy.

  I know, you are shocked to hear this.  After all, you paid a small fortune for the latest techno gadget.  But it cannot do the one thing only humans can do: more specifically the human known as YOU.  Ok, you say, so how do I become more empathetic? Come to think of it why would I want to?  Well, like anything else written by the journalistic mash of "let us tell you how to be successful" individuals, it is useful.  Just be careful what you take for fact. 

     A High Performing leader must be able to connect.  It is that simple.  If you can not connect, you cannot lead, and you sure as heck cannot express empathy in a believable way.  Unfortunately, for decades business executives, hospital executives, and academics were taught, and have taught, to show empathy is a weakness.  'Au Contraire'!  In fact, I believe it shows courage and the ability to be a transformative leader. 

     As Fast Company points out, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, has shown empathy to be a very effective tool. Expressing empathy is a skill which can be taught and learned by anyone.  To make it sincere is up to the individual.  Edward Hallowell, M.D. (2011) expressed, "Connected organizations thrive; disconnected ones perish" (p. 107).

     The team at High Performance Solutions Group can help you and your organization to express empathy and enhance both personal and organizational success.  Think about it.  How many companies can you name which no longer exist because they could not connect to employees?  The list is long: don't become a part of it!

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