… nor is it the boomers, the Exers, the white men, the working moms, nor [insert your cohort of choice] causing conflict, frustration, and a seeming clash of ideals in the workplace. Nope – it’s not about the “whom” but rather it’s about the “why.”
The modern-day workplace is jam-packed with diversity of every variety (age, race, gender, capability) AND is moving at the speed of light. And the intersection of these two factors can cause our capacity for empathy to be squelched.
Many of us think of empathy as having to do with kindness. Giving. And yes – it includes both of those elements, but at its core, empathy is about being able to put oneself in another’s shoes and imagine their perspective.
So try this. Next time someone comes to the table with a view that you perceive as selfish, demanding, uninformed, off-the-wall, etc… before you react try asking yourself – where is s/he coming from? Is s/he really just being demanding? Or does s/he have a set of goals that are perhaps different to mine?
Oftentimes by simply asking clarifying questions, we can pave a path to understanding which can lead to greater empathy and ultimately stronger outcomes such as compromise, trust, and collaboration.
Seriously. Try it. And let me know how it works out for you.