Lesson 29:

Empathy

The new leadership and personal super power for the roaring ’20’s.

30 Lessons by Jeff Kluge Empathy: The New Leadership Super Power

Counterpoint: The purpose of a counterpoint is to discuss and reflect on what a dissenting opinion may be. I hope to make my point through a story.

Having empathy and looking at the world through another’s perspective is valuable talent. It creates a deeper understanding of how to solve a problem. While rushing to address the immediate need in a situation, at times, we may miss a second and third variant solution and create some unintended consequences that could build resentment.  

In a classic tale, you can give a person a fish and feed them for a day, or you can teach the person to fish, and feed them for a lifetime.

Simply giving the person a fish is a generous thing to do but doing so can viewed as giving a “lazy person” a hard-fought fish. If we take the time to understand why it is the person is in need of the fish, we begin our understanding of the deeper part of the problem.

What if they lost their pole? Is the person who normally fishes for them absent? Was someone sick? Did the weather make fishing impossible for the week? The list can go on.

What is a good person to do? Does this change the story in our mind and is there anything we can do to be of service given this new information?

Can we teach a new person how to fish? Becoming a mentor of sorts. Can we lend, give or find a pole for them to use? Perhaps we can let them fish in our body of water. New solutions appear far more compassionate and provide some agency for the person. It does not treat them like they are incompetent to resolve their situation.

Understanding their perspectives can reduce or mitigate resentment, and as a result, lead both parties feeling better for having solved the real problem. Not just a surface issue.

Lastly, some may say easy and quick thing to do is just give the person one of their fish. After all, they may have found themselves fishing in a barrel, and there was plenty.

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