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Tips & Lessons for 2022: Empathy & Understanding will go a long way!

Edited
Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Jan 11, 2022

Advice

We can't always see what's going on in someone else's life, but we should assume that everyone is working toward the same goal with the best of intentions.  Even if it appears that someone isn't pulling their weight on the surface.

Relevancy for today

In my part of the world, things have gone back into lockdown :( 

This means that parents are having to contend with remote learning as well as a full time job. 

Mental health issues continue to be a struggle as people are unable to leave their homes. 

Families are affected by loved ones that are out of work or facing health issues due to the omicron variant.

Be kind and supportive of your team, you will appreciate the support when you need it from them!

 

8 comments

Well said. Although to be honest, sometimes it can get quite hard to remember this, when people do so much... weird stuff. But I always try to tell myself, they have the best intentions.

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Jan 11, 2022

Agreed @Anita Kalmane!  I try to give someone the benefit of the doubt first.  9/10 time a private side conversation reveals that they are overloaded but too scared to say no to something.

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And share our thoughts when we need it; it's relieving and helps a lot with the right person as a listener. 

Great @Jimmy Seddon, thank you for it. 😊

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Jan 11, 2022

YES!!! @Patrícia Fortunato Montenegro too many people (myself included at times) try to muscle through and suffer in silence.

Curt Holley Community Leader Jan 11, 2022

Great advice @Jimmy Seddon  ❤

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As humans, I think we try to fill in the gaps subconsciously. But those ad libs aren't fact and we can't conflate our guesses for what's going on with teammates. A great reminder during times where I feel like anything can be happening in anyone's life.

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Jan 11, 2022

Yes this!  I feel as I have gotten older experience has taught me to be a bit more aware of this, where as a younger version of myself would have been very blind to it.

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Daniel Eads Atlassian Team Jan 12, 2022

This one feels very multilayered! There's different opportunities to empathize depending on the context.

Your teammates: "I see you're not able to get to a task and understand it's hard this week with the kids at home. Is there anything I can help out with?"

Your customers: "The problem was with the configuration of XYZ - the documentation is here if you are interested in reviewing it and learning more. Since I know this was causing some trouble for your team, I went ahead and changed the configuration to match your expected outcomes. Have a restful evening and let me know if there's anything else we can assist with!"

When you're the customer (especially if the ball was dropped): "It's no trouble, I really appreciate your help and thank you for working on this."

Let people know you see them, understand they're a person with their own troubles, you appreciate their work, and (if appropriate) offer help or a listening ear.

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Jan 12, 2022

ahh yes!  All great points!  Thank you for the added insight @Daniel Eads!

Thank you for opening this sensitive topic, @Jimmy Seddon

Sometimes people forget to put their human side first and react more by their roles of CEOs and Managers. We all want to be high-performers at the end of the day, but keeping your health and relationships intact is more important than any job performance. 

Agreed to what @Daniel Eads and @Christine P_ Dela Rosa said, appreciation and care are what drive us forward in the long run.

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Jan 13, 2022

Thank you @Teodora _Old Street Solutions_!

It was one of those things that came to mind as I was in a cross-functional meeting where a couple of guys who work out of our Minnesota office were talking about how good the new Spiderman movie is, and at the moment all movie theatres are closed here.

Reflecting on that point, I realized that it's very easy to forget that everyone has their own things they are dealing with even outside of COVID, but COVID has made it easier to remember that being a common threat to everyone.

Agreed! 💯
It's much better to just check-in and have a conversation about what's happening than assuming things.

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Ok, confession... I have a hard time with empathy sometimes. 

Has anyone done the Clifton Strengths Finder test? It ranks "strengths" like being analytical, self-assured, and disciplined. I took it once when I was 19 and once when I was 25 with very similar results.

"Competitive" is my number three strength, behind Achiever and Learner.

Meanwhile, "Empathy" is my 33rd-ranked strength... out of 34 strengths. So basically, out of this list of wonderful attributes and qualities that my peers have, I'm the second worst at empathy. (And honestly, I agree with that ranking!)

I will say that the past two years have been a great exercise in learning to be more empathetic. I am so glad I am not a parent during a pandemic, dealing with kids suddenly home from school or sick. I also think I've learned to be better at communicating my needs — it's totally fine if you get me that file two days late, just tell me you need to move the deadline and I can accommodate that! 

My boss also helps with a great saying for our team, that "nobody ever died from a lack of marketing." She helps me keep it all in context. :) 

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Curt Holley Community Leader Jan 16, 2022

 "nobody ever died from a lack of marketing." could be argued... by many a failed artist/product. 😂

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Love Strengths Finder! I keep suggesting it to other people as well.

Just be aware that your strengths can change, depending on external and internal factors. I've done it 3x and got 3 different results (with 1-2 strengths overlapping, but not the rest).

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