I am currently involved in a very visible, new policy at my work place. It has been over a year in the making and we knew exactly when it was due. So what happened? Everything was done at the last minute in a virtual shit storm of phone calls, emails, revisions, etc. I do not work well under pressure. I can get bitchy. Real bitchy. And I look at everyone involved and assign them some level of blame. I question all of their motives, their integrity, everything.
Then I pause. And remember that I am not the center of their universe. They have other things going on in their lives that may have caused this deal to go down the way it did. Is is stressful? YES. Was it unavoidable? Maybe. What I had to call on was my ability to empathize with all my fellow team members. And as I thought of each team member and what I KNEW was going on in their lives, I gained perspective. I gained understanding. And I gained a whole new respect for what they are living through and how they work under pressure.
It was a real teaching moment for me. And I knew it was because I was uncomfortable. Think back to the last time you were really uncomfortable in a situation – did you reflect? Did you think later, “A-HA! That’s why that happened that way!” Life’s dramas are our best teachers.
But back to empathy. I found this great infographic (and who doesn’t love those?) that breaks it down and even has some tips on how to learn to be more empathetic in general, in a relationship, if you are a boss, and how to raise compassionate kids (great in this day and age of bullying). Read on.