my boss said to me as we sat down for my annual review two years ago at the New York Laguardia Airport Marriott. I was shocked. I scored high marks in every other part of the review except for this category (I have worked in pharmaceutical sales for the last seven years). I said to my boss "I don't get it, I return phone calls, texts and e-mails to my counterparts. I participate at every meeting with my colleagues. I work well as a team member in this district. I am very respectful to upper-management. I just don't get it." He then said, "Orli, I struggled with this category because I know you do all of these things, but i just don't feel like your colleagues feel like you care about them."
I was very sad when he said that but I immediately began to understand what he was talking about. I have a competitive nature and I was not taking an interest in my peers. My boss will never know what a powerful impact that conversation had on me. I began to change. At the next meeting I asked my peers what was going with their territories and their personal lives. It was a wonderful shift and I enjoyed our meetings that much more.
I also had another thought after that meeting with my boss. If I was not displaying empathy in the work place then just maybe I was not doing that in my personal life. I made another shift. I started asking my friends, family and random people I met along the way more questions and I became more of an active listener (this is also a wonderful skill for dating!).
Empathy transcends into every aspect of our lives whether it be work, social or personal. Are you an empathetic person? I bet the answer would surprise you, if you took a minute or two to think about that question. You can improve on being a more compassionate person every single day! :)