The photo you see above was taken just before my father shared his biggest gift ever.
This month is a time of reflection for me. It marks 28 years since my father passed away. Given this and Father’s Day just past, my thoughts turn to the huge impact fathers have on all of us. I’d like to share with you a leadership lesson my dad taught me years ago, that I remember to this day.
My father viewed the world through the eyes of empathy. What a gift he gave himself and others. Until the day my father died, he lived his life looking at others through the lens of empathy. He didn’t judge or admonish other’s behaviours. He simply put himself into their shoes and allowed himself to see the world from their viewpoint. He had gotten the message out of the mess. He refused to be a victim and instead, was a victor.
As leaders in the workplace, I invite you to join my father and look at others through the lens of empathy. If someone communicates roughly with you, it may be how their boss speaks to them and they think that’s acceptable and welcome work culture (it’s not). If someone is curt or impatient, they may be preoccupied with an illness in their family. If someone feels threatened or scared and refuses to help you by stepping up to the plate, they may be coming from a place of insecurity or overwhelm.
When you view with empathy, you realize everyone is the way they are for a reason. (PS: that’s an explanation, not an excuse).
My father taught me that coming from a place of empathy helps relationships and communication. Try it out, and when you find yourself saying, “Holy Moses, this stuff really works”, you can thank my dad. I know I do.
© 2010-2022 Marion Grobb Finkelstein