“The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart.”
– Rasheed Ogunlaru, Life Coach & Speaker
Recently I had the opportunity to be a Master Mentor to a set of alumni mentors of a premier business school as part of its ambitious initiative to offer a Career Support Program for its graduating students. As the master mentor, my role was really about ensuring the effectiveness of the mentoring process.
The alumni mentors had graduated from the same school few years back and were shaping up as young business leaders in the industry.
In one of my interactions, an alumni mentor mentioned that inspite of his efforts, he sensed a lack of openness and desire to engage from some of the students. I could sense his frustration of seeing his mentoring efforts becoming unproductive.
I asked, “What shows up when you think of your own leading ability?”
“Well, when I am able to influence and get things done”, he answered.
“… and when you see that happening, what behaviours do you display?” I continued.
Reflecting a bit, the mentor replied, “Well I believe I encourage people to take on new initiatives.”
I could sense the disparity between what the mentor believed he was committed to and the outcome that he was achieving. I avoided saying so.
Changing the track somewhat, I then asked, “What do you think gets in the way when you try to support others to take on new challenges?”
The alumni mentor responded almost immediately, “Well I think I need to be more empathetic and less of a stickler to holding people accountable.”
I thanked him for this great insight.
As a Leader, Manager or Supervisor dealing with teams tasked to produce outcomes, we get conditioned to link results to all that is happening outside us. So tracking people, their performance and holding them accountable comes naturally to us. Very seldom do we look inside our own selves to determine whether the way we speak, listen and act could have a bearing on our team member’s performance. This is where the power of empathy steps in.
In the disruptive world that we live in, where past performance has less and less traction for the future, Leaders need to anchor more within, with empathy at the core of growth and transformation.
- What might you do today to focus on building trust through empathy?
- How could you be a ‘success enabler’ of people by proactively removing barriers out of their way?
- How could you be a sounding board for people to come to, so that you could put them in a position to succeed?