This is an experimental post. I’ve been thinking recently that I read so much great stuff around the web by truly insightful people that inspires me to do better things in my professional life and to work in a more mindful manner that I’d like to share these. But they don’t necessarily fit within the normal confines of FutureComms. So I thought about a separate Tumblr. But, ultimately, this stuff makes me think and that’s what I try and do with this blog, so I’ve decided to give things a go here as a sort-of-separate weekend section. I hope that if these things inspire me, you’ll find them insightful too. You might love them. You might hate them. Just let me know either way in the comment section below. So on with the show…
On Showing Empathy
Every day at work we see the same faces. We operate on a largely operational basis with most of them. You have no more idea what’s going on at home for them than they do of you. And yet too often – FAR too often – professional performance is put above everything else. Have you ever had to sit through a client meeting about Facebook engagement targets or a corporate presentation about how many widgets you’ve sold when your mind is on your sick children or your impending divorce? I have. (Not all of those things, but some of them.) And it sucks. Big time.
People deal with all kinds of shit every day and, not only do they turn up for work on time, but they generally get on with things so that you’d never know any different. It’s estimated that 12 million people in the UK are on antidepressants at any one time. That is one hell of a lot of Prozac. Someone in your office is probably suffering. Silently. Mario Ballotelli’s not a hero; these people are heroes. So how about treating people with a little respect? All the time. I’m not advocating allowing people to be slack, I’m just saying don’t be an arse.
Case in point: a few years ago I was driving 75 minutes to and from work. No big deal, but on one particular day I woke up feeling truly awful. Every time I got out of bed my head span and I was violently ill. Now, on this specific day there was a meeting set up with a client to pitch some new ideas. I called the office to say that I simply could not drive the length of the M40 to get there. But I was told by the MD in no uncertain terms that “unless you’re on your death bed you will be here”. I had to stop twice on the hard shoulder of the motorway to throw up. When I arrived several people commented on how grey I looked. But I was then given a pep talk by the MD…
THAT is being an arse. THAT is showing a lack of personal respect or empathy. And it’s unnecessary. We are all sentient, suffering human beings. Bear it in mind next time you look down your nose at an employee or colleague.
Like this post? Subscribe to FutureComms and get it straight to your inbox.
Posted by Paul Sutton