It's a beautiful Sunday morning here in La Jolla. The sun is already strong and it's not even 10 AM. It's going to be a hot one. My husband just made us breakfast and I'm listening to one of my favorite bands, Band of Horses.
The opening line from the song, I Go to the Barn Because I Like The goes
I'd like to think I'm the mess you'd wear with pride
Do you know this song? When a dear friend introduced me to Band of Horses years and years ago, this was the song that really stood out to me. Band of Horses in general just levels me with their compelling, often heart-tearing music (#allthefeels) but this song...
For me, it very much represents the idea of sticking by someone through thick and thin, having pride that they are yours, even when they are a mess.
In business and in life, the longer we know someone, the greater the chance that we'll see them go through a very tough time. With our friends, if the friendships are based on authentic feelings and shared values, we hope that they'll stick with us through thick and thin. But at work, that's not always the case. Employers often start getting nervous when they see someone who is going through something, whether it's a health issue, a divorce, death of a family member, anxiety about change, or something that nobody knows about but all of a sudden the employee is acting very different. Should they take some time off? Have they become unstable? What will this mean for their team or their role or our bottom line?
May I offer some advice? Be there for them. Don't just call HR or hide behind a well-intended employee program. Be there for them. Ask them what's going on. LISTEN. Practice empathy. Put yourself if their shoes. ESPECIALLY if they have been with your company for a long time. Wear your loyalty to your people with pride. If every piece of their life is falling apart (which is often the case with a good ole fashion life crisis) the last thing they need to worry about is their livelihood. You are going to see someone go through a crisis. That is life, ladies and gents. Come up with creative ways that you can be there for them.
Compassionate leadership, heart-centered leadership, conscious leadership- I love seeing these concepts become more mainstream and I hope eventually they won't need a moniker, they will simply be the norm.
How do you show empathy to your people? Does your business have any programs that step in to help when someone needs it most? Comment below!