Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Not too long ago, one of my employees had to do what every employee dreads most: Call their boss to confess that they did something wrong. Prior to the event, I had told my employee not to do the exact thing that she ended up doing. Sigh.
This is where we as leaders are faced with a decision. Whether it is at home with your children or in the workplace with employees, the immediate reaction can be to pull out the shame card. We want to teach them a lesson and ensure that it never happens again, right? But this is where I invite you to take a pause.
Imagine the panic, fear, shame and many more emotions my employee was already feeling as she began dialing her boss’s number. This young woman was about to own up to a mistake that could financially cost the company as well as cost her trust. Upon telling me what happened, I decided to put myself in her shoes. Once there, I knew that she had learned her lesson so I simply replied, “We will take care of this.”
Wording is a funny thing and can be the make or break of a good leader. When we choose empathy, we set a tone of togetherness and build a culture of compassion. Questions such as “What knowledge have you gained from this experience?” and “How will this experience help you in the future” build an environment that values growth, positive impact, and empathy rather than harsh criticism, shame, isolation, and punishment.
In my keynote speech, “Impact: A Crash Course in Leadership,” attendees discover the four key actions every genuine leader takes to embrace obstacles as opportunities for extraordinary impact. But hearing and understanding will rarely translate into doing without the development of habits. For example, watching a YouTube video on how to use a specialized tool will not automatically make you a master at it.
Implementing new leadership tools is the same. That’s why I’ve crafted a 4-hour experiential workshop called “Master Tools for Impact” where participants practice skills and lay a foundation for strong habits that allow them to respond to challenges such as the one mentioned above.
“Master Tools for Impact” is perfect as a follow-up to my keynote or can be requested as a standalone half-day workshop.
I help organizations build whole-hearted communities through ‘half-assed’ leadership. We work together in three ways: speaking, consulting, and executive coaching. Step up from the ordinary…. Contact me today.