Ducks in a Row: Empathy

Ducks in a Row: Empathy

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess week I told you about the second best manager I’ve known; second best because he had everything except empathy.

I realized after that I wrote abut him previously when discussing how to create Good Culture in a Toxic Environment.

“Ray” was amazing. He had all the skills and insights that Craig had, but added a dimension that was grounded in empathy.

Like Craig, he worked hard to help all his people succeed, but his vibe was warm and caring.

He was always willing to listen, whether the problem was work-relate or not. He knew when people needed help finding a solution and when they just needed to vent.

His concern extended beyond their time in his organization, so that he remained a trusted advisor or occasional source of advice throughout their careers.

In fact, he turned down an opportunity in a startup that required relocation and would have made him a multi-millionaire, because of concerns of what would happen to his people when he wasn’t there to shield them from the brunt of the company’s toxic culture.

When he did change jobs locally he was followed by an unending stream of resumes from people who wanted to work for him again.

The difference between Ray and Craig may be summed up in the word empathy.

Empathy is defined as “the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”

Whereas Craig couldn’t identify with or experience anything beyond his own actual world, Ray could do both, with a feel even for those with backgrounds so different they had no connection to anything he knew.

Ray’s empathy was grounded in the fact that they were both human and that was all he required to connect and care.

Flickr image credit: Quinn Dombrowski

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