It's key to recognize unusual employee patterns and inquire about changes in performance. This segment visits a story of how compassionate inquiry helped both the employee and the workplace.
- [Narrator] Blink number three. Noticing suffering at work is not always easy, but inquiring and being curious helps. So let's dig down and come to grips with what compassion actually involves. The first stage involves the ability to perceive when someone is suffering, but noticing suffering at work isn't always as easy as you might think. So how do you actually set about doing so, after all employees are hardly going to declare their problems to their employers at the top of their lungs. The authors interviewed one employee, Dorothy, who was working for an insurance company. At the time her husband was in hospital because of kidney failure, but she hadn't told anyone about it. Instead, she started missing days at work, which was totally out of character. She soon found herself in danger of losing her job entirely because she was out of the office so frequently. The problem was that Dorothy was ashamed she needed to take time off. Her logic was that she might lose her job if she started requesting leaves of absence. This is exactly the sort of scenario when employers need to be aware of what's going on. Dorothy went to her boss, Sandeep, and told them she didn't know what to do, but Sandeep had already noticed Dorothy's unusual absences. He could see she was flushed with embarrassment and was clearly exhausted. Sandeep did the right thing, instead of chastising her for missing so much time he suggested Dorothy tell him exactly what the situation was and why she hadn't quite been her top performing self in the previous few weeks. The vital tools that are needed when you're becoming compassionate in business are inquiry and curiosity. They'll make it easier for you to spot suffering. The truth is, when we see erratic behavior we're often far too quick to reach conclusions that, frankly, aren't very compassionate. But it doesn't have to be that way. Organizational researcher, Roy Livnantarendok, conducted a field study in camps for children whose parents had cancer. She discovered that it was essential for camp counselors to be curious about the children and to regularly ask about their feelings. Crucially, she found that the camps that trained the counselors to inquire gently had less conflict between campers and counselors than those that didn't. The point is that company managers and leaders can use similar techniques and styles of inquiry to learn more about their employee's feelings, and thus prevent suffering in the workplace.
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