Does it ever feel like everyone is upset?
As a leader (or aspiring to be one) people will come to you and voice their malice. They are upset. You will not be able to make everyone happy, even though you will try. Talking with parents of athletes, the school's administration, students in my class, and even my own children - I have found that sometimes what someone is so upset about may not really have to do with me.
When someone is upset ask the following questions first before you get on the defensive:
- Has this person slept?
- Have they eaten?
- Do they feel alone?
- Is somebody else bugging them?
I have found that it becomes much easier to be empathetic to someone else when you go through this simple checklist.
Alain De Botton says it best:
"When you're handling babies and the baby is kicking and crying, we almost never once say, "That baby's out to get me' or 'She's got evil intentions."
Often, people have a deep desire to share. They share what is happening and what is going on. They need to. It is a big part of the process of healing. As a leader or even someone that cares for this person, being empathic means you hurt with them. Even if it is your fault they are hurting.
Empathy is connection
There Are 4 Qualities Of Empathy
1. Perspective Taking - taking the perspective of someone else
2. Staying out of Judgement - which is hard, because we secretly like this
3. Recognizing the appropriate emotions - discerning what and how someone feels
4. Communication - verbal and non-verbal
Empathy is a choice because for me to connect with you I have to look within myself and find a part of me that knows that feeling. Then I have to choose to go there.
Try it. Next time someone comes to you and they are upset, go through the checklist and practice empathy.