The Depot Dispatch
by Ed Kalaher
August 29th, 2018

Leadership Requires Empathy. Always.

“As a leader, you should always start with where people are before you try to take them where you want them to go.” – Jim Rohn

Have you ever been in conversation, or debate, or engaged about an important topic with a family member, a friend, an employee, a peer, a boss, whomever … and thought:  This is SO obvious to me, why don’t they get it?

Have you ever had an epiphany about a certain subject, and thought:  They’ll surely see this, if I can just find the right words to explain.

Perhaps, when trying to convey your point of view (of which you have absolute clarity) you’ve even resorted to the common practice of repeating yourself over, and over, and over … because SURELY they just aren’t understanding what you’re trying to say.

Perhaps you even think more volume will solve the issue.

Quite often, the problem is not the words you are using.  It is not your lack of ability to convey what’s in your mind’s eye, nor their failure to understand it.  And it is certainly not your volume.

Instead, it is very often a psychological barrier that we all have.  Myopia.

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness … is a condition in which close objects appear clearly, but far ones don’t.

There are so many times when we can look at an issue, a problem, a point of debate … and be 100% clear, or certain, that the path to resolution in our own mind … is the obvious solution.  And therein lies the problem.  It is the path we see in our mind.  We are focused merely on our point of view.

“Leadership is about empathy.  It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people, for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.” – Oprah Winfrey

Until and unless we choose to engage in empathy, and spend a moment ‘walking in their shoes’ … we will never see the true barrier to resolution.

Perhaps you’re arguing with an installer over technique or quality.Perhaps you’re trying to convince someone to follow a certain script. Perhaps you’re struggling to make a homeowner understand an issue that’s arisen during the job cycle. Perhaps you’re having trouble making customer service understand the seriousness of a situation.

Empathy will allow you to find common ground.  Faster.  And with the glorious side-benefit of your own, personal evolution.

Imagine …  being able to more effectively share your own clarity, by participating in someone else’s.  Imagine gaining the wisdom of someone else’s perspective, and being able to utilize that perspective to more quickly and harmoniously solve problems … for your business, for your relationship, for your family.

Empathy is more than just gaining the perspective of others, it is doing so in a way that is uniquely human.

Before arguing with the installer, try to understand their point of view.

Before just talking louder to a colleague or employee, try to see why they’re resisting.

Before becoming frustrated with a customer, try and imagine how you’d feel if this were your home.

Before shouting at a customer service agent, try and remember how many ‘bosses’ they have every day.

Learn to see through other’s eyes, and you will have the vision of a thousand men.

Think that’ll help your career?

Think that’ll help your business?

I sure do.

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