My home office is currently a mess, but no one knows it when I hop on Zoom to have a meeting. I’m just a talking head with a decent shirt on. The mess is out of the line of sight of the camera. One of the important principles of communication and leadership is acting with empathy.
Acting with empathy means knowing that there is always more to a situation than what is shown. The talking heads in our lives all have more going on than we can see. When you communicate with a client or a co-worker, remind yourself of this. Take time to ask how they are doing with sincere questions and follow up on things you know about them. Take time to get to know the people you work closely with. You will find there is a lot more to everyone than the current situation at hand.
I have found that there have been times where I have been frustrated with the chit-chat. I just want to get to the meat of the problem and get it resolved. BUT, when I take the time to get to know someone, to simply ask “How is it going?”, my empathy and ability to work with the person expands. When a client or co-worker knows you care, 9 times out of 10 they are more willing to do what needs doing and see you as a partner in solving problems and working together. You both become more than a talking head.
When you have empathy for another’s situation, you are able to be on their side, take things less personally, and work together cohesively. Acting with empathy allows for the potential of even greater collaborations.
So, the next time you’re on a call with a client, or working through a problem with a co-worker, remember they are more than just a talking head and so are you.