Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kimota94: Empath-At-Large

Today, in a leadership training session at work, one of the activities we were asked to do at the beginning was to write down a skill we believe that we have that helps us in doing our job. Until I heard that last part, I had (seriously) planned to write down "can burp on demand" but ultimately had to admit that my "BOD" talent (as I like to think of it) hasn't really contributed that much to any of my work success.

Instead, the next thing that came to my mind was empathy. I'm not sure that's really a skill - it's probably more of an attribute - but it's definitely something that I think heavily influences my behaviour at the office. I spend a lot of my time these days putting myself figuratively into the shoes of the people on our various Feature Teams, and trying to see things from their perspective. I think that's empathy. And I think it may just be a factor that's missing from many of my management peers, either because they don't spend much time with those folks or because they've been cast in a somewhat-antagonistic role toward those teams (as the Technical Product Owner, or as a Program Manager). Most of them are too busy trying to figure out the particulars of their own roles in our Agile world to be able to spare any time for trying to imagine what the people 'below' them on the Org Chart are going through. (And that's not a blanket statement, as some of them actually do show many signs of empathy.)

And all of that occurred to me in about a second or two, as my hand was poised to write "Can burp on demand" and then had to change course.


tammy said...

You must save that skill solely for work ;)

Kimota94 aka Matt said...

It's funny... because it's true!

Now get back to your homework! You've got an early class tomorrow!

mikem said...

heh, i had a similar experience. my immediate response was "unix geek" - but i quickly corrected that to "listening"

but i have burp-on-demand skills too!

T said...

'You must save that skill solely for work ;)'

oh man, this made me laugh.

Kimota94 aka Matt said...

Screw you, monkey-man!