We are living in unprecedented times. Right now, one in three Americans are working from home. Businesses and restaurants are closing their doors to the public. Schools are shut down for the rest of the academic year. Shelter-in-place directives are impacting our economies. Every day we are receiving new updates about new disruptions as we attempt to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Everyone everywhere is feeling disrupted in some way, shape, or form. And this disruption looks different for everyone. For some, they may be facing the fear of going out of business. For others, they may be juggling the additional responsibilities of childcare provider, housekeeper, teacher, cook, etc. Others may be dealing with the impact on parents or grandparents as they are forced to stay inside and not allowed any visitors. Some are being affected more drastically than others, but we are all feeling impacted in some way.
Now, more than ever, we need to look at those around us through an empathetic lens. In an age of sudden disruption, we can all come together and be unified in that we are ALL impacted in some way by this pandemic. For many, that means that priorities have suddenly shifted. Things that were so important just a couple of weeks ago are suddenly no longer at the top of the priority list. This also means that we must approach our conversations with our clients from a posture of seeking to understand the world they are living in and asking a different set of questions about how we can add value to them during these times.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to see the world from their perspective. And right now, in our current climate, our need for empathy has never been greater.
How does this impact the way you interact with your clients (both internal and external)?
1. Seek First To Understand
What is happening in their world that you need to be aware of? How does that impact the way you need to be interacting with them? Start by asking questions and listening to their needs.
2. Prioritize What Matters Most
What do your clients truly need from you? How do you deal with the time restraints and technology barriers that we are currently facing? Start by identifying the work that is crucial for us to get done for our clients and re-prioritize from there.
3. Focus On Results, Not Just Tasks
What is the value you want to provide to your clients? What is the outcome you are working towards? Start by defining the outcome and the experience that you want to create through each and every interaction.
What’s The Risk?
With great disruption comes great opportunity for us to grow and evolve. Right now, we don’t have the luxury of just going through the motions. We must be intentional about the work we are doing and the value we are driving. Navigating the waters of disruption presents an opportunity to grow in emotional intelligence and empathy. How can you rise to the occasion?