Discussion in 'The PatsFans.com Pub' started by fnordcircle, Mar 28, 2019.
You sound like someone who fakes empathy. That’s what I do, too.
Yeah, I was just messing with you.
I know. Just giving a clarification to others about how ****ed up we both are.
You’re getting married, let her carry that load.
I just figured much of it is a male thing...something that female counterparts balance out as a couple. Most women I know have a lot of empathy. Some men, too. But for the most part I don’t know many men who are really empathetic.
I am married. She has the other problem - too much empathy. So much so that she has trouble getting through really good drama shows and movies because she gets too attached to the characters. She needed a while to come to grips over Mike’s death in Breaking Bad, for example.
There you go. Balance.
I have a ton of that ...
for people I care about or who I am getting to know.
That’s yin-yang balance. Probably why you two ended up together.
The basis of this belief is that it’ll help me professionally. I’m a project manager and my team kills it but an increase in empathy will help me with interpersonal relationships. The one area I probably need to improve is my turnover rate. Variable costs are down, I usually don’t deal with very many delays, etc. But my turnover rate is higher than I would like it to be (but not anywhere near a problem) and that forced me into an introspective mood. We all have things we need to improve on, though. What would you say yours is?
You seem like a very smart guy. Being really smart, being a male, and being a leader are usually not characteristics that you find with someone with sufficient empathy. I've noticed that sales people (including men) have a lot of empathy. They are excellent at relationships and sales, but they also suck at leadership. My brother is exactly like that...natural born sales guy, always listens to you thoroughly, always empathetic...very successful...horrible manager/leader (he is the first to admit that.) On the other hand, I am a lot more of a rational thinker, pretty good/ leader/ delegator. Empathy is somewhat not in my nature; I can be empathetic to people close to me, but for the most part I find I'm naturally more critical than empathetic. There are a handful of personality tests (my parents always did Meyers-Briggs when I was younger) that attempt to explain the difference in the way we perceive and interact with others. I'm sure anyone can improve in an area where they feel they're lacking, but it is hard to go against nature too.
When you have kids you may find that, as long as you have a deep empathy for them, and your wife of course, that's good enough. A father who does not empathy for his children...that is a problem. I don't suspect you will have this problem based on your general nature that comes across through your posts.
Area of improvement for me right now is to take more personal responsibility. My wife always points out that tend to blame others when something goes wrong (example, if something in the house goes missing, if something just doesn't go as planned)...I don't even realize I'm doing it, so that is probably my biggest issue. If I am so ingrained in it that I'm not even conscious of it in the least, then it is a blind spot and must be a huge problem.
That’s actually a big problem with the world as a whole. It probably comes from how parents cater to their kids but I’ve never read scientific studies on it. I used to work in a call center for the same company I work at now while I was in college. Handled a lot of billing calls. If a check got returned for insufficient funds, it was our fault because it didn’t draft out of their bank immediately. Uh... that’s not how a check payment works. It was your responsibility, as the payer, to ensure the money was still in the account to cover it.
That's just ridiculous. You can be fair without necessarily being empathetic. This policy is just unfair and seems silly.
Sorry, should have specified that it wasn’t a policy. That was often the customer’s attitude/response.
Problem is if you become too empathetic, this is stuff that happens.
I've found myself having more empathy lately. Not sure if it's the same thing, but for example crying during movies. I was watching this porno the other day and....
Money shots are emotional. It takes so much effort to get to that point.
I think the basis of empathy starts with a belief in nurture over nature. That you need to evaluate who the person became and their actions inline with the foundations they were given during their formative years.
My mind balks at the idea that, say, Charles Manson - whose mother traded him to a waitress for a pitcher of beer and left him in the restaurant - had the same shot at being a well-adjusted person as someone who was loved by a mother who would die before losing him.
My parents were hard working, frugal, kept me fed and cared for and were hardasses about me not getting a grade lower than a B or there'd be hell to pay. I was partially raised by grandparents, as they were the next house over and I spent a ton of time there. Most notably my grandfather wouldn't shut the hell up about how valuable learning is and how much potential he thought I had. Should I feel superior to someone whose parents were drug addicts or neglectful in one way or another? Who was never told they had a ton of potential?
A bit much given we're talking about project management. I don't know how easy that is to do with something like engineers working on a project you're managing or how important it is. I spent half of the 2010s working closely with project managers and I'd say the ones who got the best effort from me were the ones who made me feel like they were on my side. That we were a team working together on a project often dealing with some truly annoying people. And they'd always make sure I got positive feedback and reinforcement internally even when unreasonable customers didn't.
The PMs who got the least effort from me were the ones who treated me like a resource to be drained for their project. Who made little effort to build camaraderie with me and who couldn't be bothered to give out even the slightest 'attaboy' after I went above and beyond for a project. Especially given that between the two of us I was far more instrumental to the project and much, much harder to replace.
Respect, empathy & sincerity are keys to good team building. Once you can properly fake those you can begin to inspire true loyalty and get the dumbazzes to set themselves on fire while running through walls for you.
Speaking of empathy...some years ago, when the grass was green and the buffalo were many on the plain, I had my empathy level/state of emotional evolution brought to the fore in a site meeting in front of a few hundred people. The SVP responsible for the region held regular 'town hall' style meetings and all of what he viewed as his senior staff, regardless of discipline and including contract or not, had to attend and participate. One of his favorite tactics in these meetings was to get 'objective viewpoints' by calling on one of us to give thoughts on something outside our normal purview to the masses.
I should point out my tenure there was a true fish out of water experience for me. I was working outside my normal industry having originally been brought on board for a specific project that had nothing to do with that location. Shortly after I started the very popular regional facilities engineer had a serious illness. As part of divvying up his load I was asked to oversee an ongoing functional rehab, remodel and expansion project at a service to sales call center located near my job site. The ask came with some fairly attractive incentives but it was honestly the challenge that truly made it worth accepting. The project entailed some short term discomfort and no small amount of flexibility for the customer 'facing' site employees. Perforce I all too often found myself dealing with ruffled feathers and repeatedly having to explain the obvious, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.
During one particular meeting one of the main points discussed was an upcoming regulatory directive that was going to unavoidably impact customers in an unpopular way. Needless to say the customer facing rank and file folks who were going to have to deal with people over it and possibly see their sales dip were less than thrilled. One of the middle managers, whom I had come to know was always 'that one' (you know, the one whose own empathy only flowed downwards), spoke up about the impending dissatisfaction and how difficult it was going to make life for her people and customers.
It went something like this:
Middle Manager: "This has disaster written all over it. How we supposed to explain this to our teams never mind our customers? How can we expect our teams to perform well under these circumstances? blah...blah.
SVP (for some bizarre never explained reason) singling me out: "How would you handle this?"
Me: "To begin with, the change is regulatory in nature and therefore industry wide so we aren't the bad guys here. In communicating with our frontline folks this can't be stressed enough. Our customers will be facing this not just with us but across the board..."
Middle Manager (interrupting) : "Well that's easy for you to say, everybody knows you don't have any feelings."
You could have heard a pin drop as I immediately responded, "Well it's probably a good thing I don't. Otherwise they'd probably be hurt right now."
Pause, 2, 3... room explodes in laughter. If it hadn't been a business setting it would have been a mic drop moment
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