• You’ve got cancer.
  • Your child has a disability.
  • Your mother just passed.
  • There’s no way out of this debt.
  • Insurance won’t come close to covering this bill.
  • I want a divorce.

The odds are one of your teammates (maybe several) just heard these or similar words. You, however, will never know.

Does demonstrating empathy for a fellow teammate require that you know their story? Or can you do what the best among us do: lead knowing that everyone has a story?

Human suffering is inherently a solo activity. Yet, organizational success relies on the strength of connections between people. Personal tragedies become catastrophic when no network – no culture – exists to support those on their journey through the dark cave. Predictably, organizations that leave employees to suffer on their silent island find it difficult succeed.

Do your teammates find the strength to persevere through hardships by working next to you?

Your next interaction with a colleague matters. You don’t need to know their story. You just need to recognize in your words and actions that they have one.

 

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