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Benefits of Empathy

How do you deal with upset clients, or an employee who isn’t performing or an unforeseen event that causes things to turn upside down? When I got into business I did not think about any of that stuff, my focus was on doing great design work and making people happy.

If I’m being honest, dealing with the ugly stuff is my least favourite thing and believe me, when I say I’d rather not deal with it at all. In business no, matter what industry you’re it’s going to come up and the good news is you can learn how to go from freaking out to calm and happy for both you and the other party (client/employee).

In 2016 I was introduced to emotional intelligence also referred to as EQ and the work has been a game changer. Through it learned how to become a better leader, a better communicator and a happier person. My team noticed it first in the way I coached them and how I handled our clients when something went sideways. They spoke out about it and how they appreciated the empathy I had for anything they might be dealing with as well as being open in conversations. Things got even better (and they were already great) with our little group and we saw growth in how we operated cohesively.

When it came to clients I can recall 2 very distinct incidents – one in an email and the other on a call. Each of the clients were fuming, tempers lost and just generally pissed off. The email client had been given some incorrect information by their SEO company that was confusing and resulted in a big upset. I was able to see the situation quickly for what it was (a misunderstanding) and calmly talk the client down reassuring him all was OK and nothing bad was going to happen. He openly admitted he had a short fuse and was working on that then thanked me for coming to him calming and helping him understand.

The phone call client was upset about a web developer not getting something done last minute (due to a death in the family) and immediately went down the path of all the things the developer did years ago that pissed him off. I calmly asked him to pause and reminded him that while those past things did indeed happen, the developer had changed his ways and had been nothing short of fabulous for the past 3 years. The client replied, “you’re right, he has been really great and that was a long time ago.” The remainder of the call was positive and productive ending on a great note.

Having emotional intelligence in my tool-belt has been hugely valuable to take all the drama out of things and strip them down to what’s really going on. When you can see things from a different lens with empathy and compassion you create better experiences for people. It’s taken the suffering out of difficult things for me and allows more freedom in my life and I highly recommend educating yourself through any of the great programs available to help you have more grace and ease in your career and life.