Caring. Empathy. Compassion
You expect it in hospitals. You expect it among families. Do you expect it at the office? I do.
From some stories I’ve been hearing from my friends, apparently not everyone does. A case in point: A woman found out that her mother had a heart attack and had been hospitalized so she immediately made plans to be with her. She was unable to follow-through on some immediate work commitments, including putting the finishing touches on a presentation to be given by her manager the next day. When she let her manager know she needed to drive north that afternoon, his very first question was who would finalize the presentation. No acknowledgement of the woman’s personal situation, nor any expression of concern for her.
Caring, compassion, and empathy are fundamental ingredients in business. Why? Because people are business: people create businesses, people run businesses, people generate value from businesses. And, because the people that create, run, and generate value are human beings who want to make a difference, to feel connected, to know they matter, to be acknowledged, valued, appreciated.
I’ve found myself wondering if the way I behave shows people that they matter and exploring what happens when I focus on the people with whom I engage. Whenever I find myself interacting with someone else, whether it’s an impromptu conversation, instant message exchange, a telephone call, a virtual meeting, or a group gathering, I’ve been asking myself the questions below. Maybe you want to join me in this Caring Challenge?
- What impact am I having on the other person?
- What experience am I creating for the other person?
- Am I really listening to the other person?
- How can I acknowledge the other person?
- How can I show my appreciation for the other person?
I’m finding that showing I care requires a willingness to be vulnerable and courage to share my feelings. It also requires a level of trust that being human will have even more powerful results than an unrelenting push on the task at hand. I’m supported by the belief that the time I invest in being with another person and finding out how they are feeling and what’s important to them will open possibilities and together we will go even further than I could have imagined. I believe in the value of that place of caring where people find grace, peace, and comfort that lets them move forward.
I got to wondering what makes someplace caring, empathic and compassionate, what it takes to create such a place, and what’s possible in such a place. The word clouds below capture some of my ideas. I found the result inspiring and empowering. What do they say to you?
Quotes to Contemplate
- Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have. ~Margaret Mead
- Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness. ~Harold Kushner
- We have the power to befriend and strengthen the life in one another and to change the world, one heart at a time. ~Rachel Naomi Remen
- The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. ~Thomas Merton
- In seperateness lies the world’s great misery, in compassion lies the world’s true strength. ~Buddha
- Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. ~Dalai Lama
- Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. ~Frederick Buechner
- A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. ~Denis Waitley
Click on the link below to access the August calendar featuring highlights from this post.
© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013
Photo by Maureen Monte (www.montephotography.com)