Empathy Is Having The Ability Of Place Yourself At The Position Of Others

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Empathy is having the ability to place yourself in the position of others.
While living a surreal scenes straight out of M*A*S*H, I spent most Sundays, while deployed this past summer, washing and cutting potatoes on ‘Kitchen Patrol.’ Our austere compound had a severely understaffed kitchen crew. During my frequent rotations volunteering with tedious kitchen tasks, I got to know Justin, one of the young cooks, well. He was 22 years old, stationed in England, recently married, and his wife was pregnant with his first child. We talked often and I learned he wasn’t going to be home until 2 months after the birth!
He didn’t know, but I immediately started trying to get him home in time. I was appalled that his leadership would not work to
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Or, maybe he would be less likely to bring his emotional fatigue to the workplace, causing the spread of a productivity-killing food-borne-illness.
Infusing this attitude of empathy across the organizations I lead is what matters most to me. Because, maybe if the decision makers for Energy Transfer Partners considered how the Dakota Access Pipeline affected the people and land close to the pipeline, there would not be costly legal and construction delays. The merits of either party’s claims aside; somewhere, there was a lack of consideration that resulted in significant human and economic cost. While business decisions cannot bend to everyone’s needs, these decisions need to benefit the company while thoroughly realizing the responsibility of the results. If a junior executive sowed an empathetic environment in this organization—maybe it could change. Creating the leaders that seed this organizational change is my passion.
I recognize the difficulties of leading with compassion. As a combat rescue pilot, I have saved 83 people’s lives. But not all of my 130+ rescue missions ended well. Both as the pilot leading the mission and as the squadron commander leading the pilots, I have analyzed variables and made decisions that did not result in a saved life. It is in the preparation leading to these heavy decisions that I take the most care to ensure my team realizes how much our organization benefits when we lead with compassion.
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