Today I would like to share some thoughts about how to deal with these protective behaviours at work.
Because we are talking about human beings, the first thing that comes to mind is empathy.
Showing kindness and understanding for others is amazing, but it's a double-edged sword that can lead to EMPATHY FATIGUE.
Empathy fatigue is a state of psychological, emotional and intellectual exhaustion that occurs when someone constantly attends to other people's needs. And currently, it's a widespread feeling amongst the leaders.
If you ask yourself these questions at least once a day, you might be exhibiting empathy fatigue:
🔸 Oh my, I can't help yet another person!
🔸 Just when I think I've seen it all…
🔸 Will this day ever end?
🔸 How am I supposed to help everybody, I am just one human being!
I am not proposing you become a callous, heartless boss with zero EQ (unfortunately, there is plenty of those out there). I am inviting you to re-think what EMPATHY actually is or what it isn't.
🔹 Fixing employees' problems and helping to look for solutions sound like a noble thing to do. Still, it undermines the ability of people to think for themselves, showing them that you have no trust in their capabilities.
🔹 Sharing your own experiences not just forces you to re-visit your own wounds but also often has nothing to do with your employee's experiences and, therefore, might sound condescending.
I believe that genuine empathy at work is:
✔ Empowering others by asking questions and letting them think for themselves
✔ Listening to what others have to say without the assumption that they need your help
✔ Creating safe space by holding back your judgements and acknowledging biases