con·ver·sa·tion \ kän-vər-ˈsā-shən
mid-14c., "place where one lives or dwells"
Amidst breathtaking challenges, heartbreaking grief, as well as miraculous moments, what has emerged as possibility for our future? When we ask leaders these questions, here is what they tell us—from a personal perspective as well as an organizational leadership perspective:
Leaders at all levels, ourselves included, have been humbled by the events of 2020. There was no rule book, and we all had to quickly learn new approaches. There was abundant creativity, generous sharing, grace in imperfection, and genuine listening.
What if, together, we could co-create the future of organizational leadership? What if we could sustain the practices that allowed us to survive—and we dare say thrive—in this most difficult time?
The way is through conversation. One client said: “It’s not a soundbite, it’s a story. We don’t need a leadership slogan or a marketing message.” Let’s continue to be real, vulnerable and intimate. No one has all of the answers so let’s continue to listen to one another.
Executive Coaches Andrea Chilcote and Laura Roccaforte, along with expert guests and thought leaders, will lead hour-long conversations followed by 15 minutes of live Q&A. Post-session mini guides for implementing practices, along with a video replay, will be provided.
Join What Leaders Need Now and special guests
for our August interactive webinar experience!
Registration Open Now!
As organizations are wrestling with the issue of “return to the workplace,” now complicated by an apparent resurgence of disease and the accompanying fear and frustration, we have been asking the question, “Who is returning?” What is the deeper call for leaders, as we call people back?
Few, if any, have been untouched by the COVID pandemic. The people who packed their desks and headed to their makeshift home office (kitchen, bedroom or basement), as well as those “essential workers” who risked their health and well-being, changed in the past 18 months. We are no longer the same, and the same approaches to workforce engagement and retention are no longer relevant. Everything each individual experienced is going “back” with them – if they choose to go back. The decisions organizations are making now in terms of their approaches to leadership and culture might determine their future relevance.
Join us as we continue the conversation about What Leaders Need Now. With guests Larry Hofer, Vice President of Human Resources at Cox Communications and Susan Henricks, CEO of ICAN, we will explore what forward-thinking companies are doing to empower change, attract and retain talent and support employees emerging from one of the most challenging times of their lives. As always, we will provide realistic guidance you can put into practice immediately.
Tuesday, August 17 at 11:00 Pacific Time
Free—Register now to reserve your spot!
"You can respond by turning away, or by turning toward. Turning away means closing your mind, heart, and will — in other words, acting from ignorance, hate, and fear. Turning toward means opening your mind, heart, and will — acting from curiosity, compassion, and courage. These are the choices we face in any moment: Do we turn away and close down, or do we turn toward and open up, activating the deeper levels of our humanity?" —Otto Scharmer- MIT
Being understood is not just being “listened to,” in the typical sense. It begins with empathy. Brené Brown says we have an empathy deficit in our culture. Yes. And many don’t even know what it is.
What Empathy is Not
Empathy is not a behavior. Behaviors can be utilized to express empathy: “You sound excited,” or “It looks like you’re feeling sad.” When we perceive a feeling in another, expressing that can build connection if we’re right. Stating what we see or hear is safe, because the other person can correct us. “I’m not sad – I probably look that way because I’m exhausted.” When we tell someone they are feeling something, or that we can understand how they are feeling, we’re in dangerous territory because it pre-supposes we know. In fact, we can never fully know or understand another’s experience. When we listen deeply to another, we notice signs and signals that indicate how they’re feeling. A person with a high degree of social awareness, the aspect of emotional intelligence defined by the ability to recognize the emotions of others, can pick up these signals and check them out by reflecting what they see or hear. While it’s a skill that can be built, reducing this reflection behavior to a technique misses the importance. It can seem disingenuous if the listener does not know how to separate her own feelings and biases from the observations she’s making.
Empathy is not: “What I would think or feel if I were you.” If I had someone else’s situation, I would naturally respond in different ways because my experiences, personality, likes and dislikes, and values are different.
What Empathy Is
Empathy occurs when we seek to see things from the experiential point of view of another. The word empathy comes from the Greek em meaning into and pathos meaning feelings, emotion, passion. When we experience empathic feelings, we realize that the other’s point of view is rationally consistent from his or her perspective, however disjointed it may appear from ours. Empathy does not mean we must agree with, or have positive feelings about, the other’s point of view. Empathy is about using our imagination and good will to understand another—cognitively, affectively and behaviorally—whether we agree with them or not. —Catherine Anne Lombard
An exhibit in Europe’s traveling Empathy Museum entitled A Mile In My Shoes allows visitors to literally do just that – walk in someone else’s shoes. Their website says the exhibit “holds a diverse collection of shoes and audio stories that explore our shared humanity. From a Syrian refugee to a sex worker, a war veteran to a neurosurgeon, visitors are invited to walk a mile in the shoes of a stranger while listening to their story.”
While we can never really know what another is feeling or experiencing, we can come close by approximating their state of being. It begins with the physical body – our own. If we are to metaphorically step into another’s shoes, we must first embody our own shoes in order to make the distinction. Then, we can observe ourselves from their perspective. We’ll explore ways to do this in our upcoming series.