One of the most fascinating concepts in this Harvard Business Review article is the notion that empathy can be taught. Not only can it be taught, but there is evidence that people who think you either have it or you don’t – those with a ‘fixed mindset’ – are less likely to work at connecting with others.
That’s just the way I am
Or, as I might put it, the people who say “that’s just the way I am,” may be telling the truth; but they’re wrong when they think they can’t change.
Empathy leads to better connection, less stress, and higher morale, and CAN be taught. But not by merely mouthing the instruction to be empathic. It takes practice and it takes role models. If you espouse the value of empathy, the actions need to be congruent with what you say, from the board on down through the entire organization.
The article lists – and expands on – three ways leaders can embrace and foster empathy in the organization.
- Acknowledge the potential for growth
- Highlight the right norms
- Find culture leaders and co-create with them
What does this mean for you?
Do you work for an organization that encourages empathy? Have you tried to foster empathy in your work or your board? Or If this article has started some conversations, or even caused some deep thinking about values, please let me know.
And watch for more curated articles. If you see an article you think everyone should read, please send it on. Or if you want to talk about facilitation or planning for your organization, I’d love to have that conversation.
More eyes – more articles – more wisdom!
– Susan Detwiler