Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"You lack empathy"

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! :)

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