Karen was working frantically to make new employee orientation a success.
She doubled checked the breakfast menu, made arrangements for the interpreter when another staff member dropped the ball. Karen even fronted $500 of her own money when she realized her boss, Jacob, forgot the purchase order. Needless to say, once the event was started, Karen was frustrated.
With people strolling in to a great event, Jacob nonchalantly cuts the line to get his coffee. He returns to Karen who makes the comment, “ I did a really nice job, don’t you think? I just feel a bit taken for granted.”
Jacob cuts his eyes and slurps the coffee, “Karen, no one cares how you feel…deal with it.” He thrusts the coffee at her and walks away to greet the corporate sponsors.
Karen has to come to terms with an organization that will consume her and her resources… without giving a care to the cost to her personally or professionally. Though Karen does get her money back, she paused on reflect on other rude and abrupt comments from Jacob. Then she realized, he was just short of being a bully.
By definition, empathy helps those around you understand feelings, efforts and talents. An empathetic colleague can consider how others feel and truly inspire people around them. Those who lack empathy and don’t consider the impact of abrupt comments, actions and gestures are more likely to run right over colleagues and forget how rude behaviors are the beginning stages of bullying.
How should employees protective themselves from colleagues who are apathetic and flippant about other people’s feelings?
- Recognize what they are. If a person really does not care about how others feel, don’t waste your time trying to convince them otherwise. Save your energy for your initiatives and career development.
- Understand exactly what you need from your position- longevity, benefits, and the salary. Perform well, but be careful about overextending personal resources. If you work for those who lack empathy, no one will appreciate the extra effort.
- Don’t be too attached to the environment. Build a solid resume and prepare for opportunities as they arise.
Those with empathy are good at managing others and having the insight to be the custodian of people’s feelings. While empathy isn’t a requirement of a boss, in truth a boss who lacks empathy will eventually take advantage of those around him / her. Remember, if you are always looking out for the boss, and the boss is only looking out for the boss, who is left looking out for you?
Read more posts by Leah Hollis, Ed.D. here. Leah is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.
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