What’s Your EQ (Empathy Quotient)?
A good friend fell and injured her foot. Thankfully there was nothing broken (other than her pride) but she needed crutches for a few days. “Now I know what that old saying meant about “not judging others until you have walked in their moccasins (or in this case, a soft boot).” I’m going to be better soon, thankfully, but I know other people who have to live with their handicaps every day of their life. I was never aware of how strong they have to be emotionally, just to get through the day. I guess that means that I have a new understanding of empathy.”
Yes, she is right and yet in our day-to-day existence of dealing with our concerns and high-priority projects we often forget about the trials and tribulations of others, even those who are our customers, our staff, our vendors. That customer in a wheelchair, that employee who is going through a divorce, that vendor who has a critically ill parent, all can use a helping hand and a word of encouragement.
Now, I’m not advocating that we stop our businesses to become a “Mother Theresa” but if we can make things a little easier for them we are also helping ourselves. The customer in the wheelchair may need help getting packages out to his car, the divorcing employee may need an extra break to talk to her attorney during work hours, the vendor with an ill parent would probably appreciate a card or note of support.
Creating a company culture where “acts of kindness” are practiced usually earns great dividends in customer loyalty, staff retention, and vendor relationships. When you need something extra from them, a referral, a schedule change, a special service, most people who receive empathetic treatment will return it and will often go out of their way to help others when you or your company set the example.
Is EQ part of your culture? Investigate it at your business. Expand your company’s vision towards people in physical or emotional distress. It’s good humanity and good business.