Leading With Empathy

While we collectively face the challenges of the current climate, our circumstances can make for vastly different realities. Whether you are out serving your community or using collaborative tools to communicate with your colleagues, making empathy a priority will give your efforts a significant boost.

Working Through Change

The changes I have seen these past months have varied widely between industries. For those working in essential fields, a top-of-mind concern has been changing operations to enhance employee and public safety. For others, it’s been a ‘trial by fire’ as they transition to working remotely, allowing their entire staff to self-quarantine.

As a technology consultant, supporting these clients requires navigating shifting priorities, strong personalities, and every human response you could imagine. Maybe this sounds familiar to your work, or even your personal life. Particularly for those working in tech, we are more inclined to approach stressful situations with a focus on creating solutions.

But what if I told you the quickest way to strong solutions was by leading with a focus on humanity?

graphic of people on a video chat while working from home.

Reaching out with compassion, showing respect for the challenges my clients face, and seeking to understand the unique requirements of their situation have all been key in accelerating progress. Leading with empathy has grounded how I handle requirements discussions between competing stakeholders, driving them towards consensus. It has helped my team recommend features better suited to a client’s business processes. It has strengthened the relationship we have with our clients, giving them a sense of security in a landscape full of uncertainty.

Make Empathy Part of Your Culture

The impact of leading with empathy has gone beyond my client engagements, proving just as effective when turned inward. An internal communications channel for sharing quarantine hobbies has helped Affirma maintain interpersonal connections with each other. As colleagues have been adjusting to new work patterns, patience and understanding have gone a long way. Acknowledging the challenge of juggling work and young children upfront has made it easier to navigate and move swiftly past interruptions on conference calls.

Starting from a place of empathy has been a fast track to positive and productive collaboration, whether internally amongst our teams, or with our client stakeholders. Perhaps the one thing better than seeing the value it adds to each of my interactions is watching it multiply.

While employing this approach has created a lift in my professional and personal life, the impact has gone far beyond myself. I have watched clients, colleagues, and friends transfer it forward, strengthening each other and creating ripples of support in their circles. In these concerning times, with all our different circumstances and challenges, empathy is truly one of our great strengths. Now, more than ever, let’s make it a priority each time we connect.

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