Progress: n. A forward or onward movement toward a destination.
Progress: v. To move forward in space or time.
The discussion surrounding “Progress Through Compassion” has covered a few key aspects to developing and maintaining a personable working relationship with each of your employees.
The word heard most often? Progress. It’s one of those strangely ambiguous English words that can take on two entirely different meanings.
Which one did you hear?
From a management standpoint, this is absolutely crucial to decide two things:
–How you interpret progress in relation to your ultimate goal
–How you put it in action
Now that we have touched on how you relate to your employees and how they relate to you, we can look at how we move forward with those elements in place. You have your goal set to work jointly toward financial gain and personal fulfillment as anyone with a passion for their business should. So how do we tie both definitions of progress together?
We open our doors.
All noise, chatter, and tapping of keyboards aside, your door should be wide open. This isn’t one-sided. It will allow your employee with a question to know they’re heard. It’ll allow them to know you’re there just as they are. It will allow you to stay in-tune with their situations. It’s a visual representation of compassion.
By literally opening our doors, we allow the concept of Progress Through Compassion to fully evolve.
While composing part two of this short series on Progress Through Compassion,
the topic of empathy often comes up when I hear from management teams who are struggling to balance productivity with workplace independence. Employees want to be able to assert their independence as everyone works differently toward the same goal. This is a beneficial thing, however it can also be detrimental. Many times, employers find themselves feeling a loss of direction as their employees scatter into different procedures and methods.
So how do we find that sweet spot where our employees feel appreciated, respected, and independently productive? For many in an employer’s position, this is where empathy becomes a skill to learn.
Here are two key points from that new baseline to regain balance and productivity.
Expand your vocabulary to avoid words like “control” or “policy”.
These words are obviously functional and important in any working environment. But what if we flip that into this: Control is actually a function of maintaining balance. Approaching the same principle with a less polarizing perspective by simply switching a word helps to give you a platform while letting your employee stay open to ideas and even constructive criticism.
Take notes- Not about work. Not about profit margins or Power Points. Take notes about what makes your employee tick. What makes them thrive? What changes their demeanor or makes their day?
We often get lost in the technical side of conducting business while losing site of WHO is conducting it. This is your baseline- your key to moving forward.
I often think of a particularly fantastic Seinfeld reference where “Anyone can take reservation.”
Think of this as learning how to “*hold* the reservation.”
Most days, we set out to experience the world with our own perspective- Our own shoes. But what happens when empathy is a core value with no set line? How do we draw it? What if we don’t know how to express or experience it in the first place?
Empathy is a peculiar thing. It’s a vital form of existence that some possess to an almost torturous degree. We feel deeply both positive and negative things. It’s a gift and a curse all in the shape of one human. Turbulent and ever changing, it can make or break a life. The goal for empaths is to balance and sustain it for as long as possible. We will never give up feeling what we do because we’re lucky we can. On the opposite end, we wish it would stop to let us feel nothing for a few.
As I experience empathy in my core relationships, I struggle to find a line between two key points:
– Letting it become so strong that I lose sight of my purpose and focus entirely too much on whether or not someone else is struggling.. and..
– Letting it be as it is so that I may trust that things work out as they will.
Just as it applies to our personal relationships, empathy can be the key to progress in our work relationships. It can be the one link that fills the gap between managing your workload and owning it. Throughout the next two weeks, I will be discussing a few key points to help find, balance, and pursue progress through compassion.
I took a break from as much as possible yesterday to focus on using the feeling of heaviness the best way I could. I still couldn’t. The news surrounding so many recent events has had millions of us shaken and confused. For me, silence is key. I want to stay out of the frenzy, inform myself as much as possible of the necessary facts, and figure out a way to help.
I drove into a dusty sunrise hearing chatter on the radio with updates of new statistics and speculation. I knew the recent storms and violence shed a lot of blood and I was saddened by the fact that I cannot give mine.
Due to my heart condition, I cannot donate blood. As I see Red Cross trucks setting up in the parking lots of various offices in the city, I thought about those who can’t use them. Here are a few ways to help when you can’t give yours for a host of personal reasons.
1. Pay it forward- This does not require money as many of us do not have enough of that to give, either. This can be in the form of helping someone carry heavy items to their car from the store. Your act of recognizing another human as a fellow human is priceless. This can even include going with someone who can donate blood- Support is key.
2. Donate time- Many of our resources (time, energy, supplies) quickly dissipate once help is needed elsewhere. If you’re able, donating time to spend with people who need company or kids who need distraction is more valuable than any check you can write.
3. Volunteer at a shelter- This is one I’ve always had a heart for ever since spending my first Volunteer Thanksgiving in one. Serve food to those who are not only dealing with the heartache of a chaotic world situation but are also facing their own. Sit down and share some conversation over coffee with fellow volunteers or guests. You will be amazed at what you learn.
4. Don’t click the bait- In our world of instant information, news streams and media channels are running rampant with headlines and feeds. There is a major setback to this. The rush to get the first lead is a prime breeding ground for sensationalism and misinformation. Help us save the unnecessary stories from polluting the real ones by stopping to consider if it’s correct, if it’s necessary, and if it’s going to help someone else.
5. Call your representative- This is one not many of us think about on a daily basis. If you have concerns over policies regarding the response to catastrophe or the availability of weaponry.. Really anything- Call your representatives and voice your opinion. You may think that your voice won’t count or be heard. But even 10 voices are really, really loud. Be that guy.
6. Inform yourself- I cannot stress this one enough. Informing yourself of current events and causes is the groundwork for making change happen. We cannot move forward without knowing why we should. It is crucial.