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Cultivating Empathy

Cultivating Empathy

From designers, to DevOps, to your favourite personality-driven work-place scandal, there are a lot of people talking about empathy and why it's so important at work. Perhaps you think it's a waste of time; or maybe you think it's important, but you don't really understand how to apply the technique professionally.

Usually when we say the word "empathy" there's an underlying "woo-woo let's talk feelings" undertone, but it's also a tool you can use to understand what motivates your team; to spot blockers before they become a problem; and to get a "health check" on the projects you oversee. Sounds useful when you read it from that definition, doesn't it.

This session will be broken into three parts:

Level 1: "Caring just enough." The basic human skills you know about, and use, outside of work. This section is most relevant to team members who want to promote a healthy workplace culture.
Level 2: "Thinking strategies." Using your team’s motivators to help them succeed. This section will be most useful to those who manage people and team leads.
Level 3: "Imagination." Learning to complain from the other person’s perspective. This section will be most useful to those who manage people and team leads.
Even if you still aren't comfortable with the "e" word by the end of this talk, you will have a better grasp on how to apply work-place appropriate, tangible techniques to produce higher functioning, happier teams.

Slides from operability.io.

Emma Jane Hogbin Westby

September 25, 2015

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  1. YESTERDAY... • Sit beside someone and work together (pair programming).

    • Distributed teams: be explicit in communicating your feelings, especially in text. • Trust is earned, not bought or given.
  2. OUTCOMES • Improve team cohesion. • Engineer successful (human interaction)

    outcomes. • Improve capacity for diverse thinking. • Foster creative problem solving.
  3. Actually, this talk is titled... A primer on how

    taught myself to be more empathetic.
  4. PRACTICING EMPATHY Level 1: Care just enough to learn more

    about a person’s life. Level 2: Use thinking strategies to structure interactions. Level 3: Engage with the world from another’s perspective.
  5. The biggest mistake is believing there is only one way

    to have a connection. Deborah Tannen
  6. REWARDS & RISKS Engineer successful outcomes. Improve capacity for diverse

    thinking. Perceived as manipulative. THINKING STRATEGIES
  7. THINKING STRATEGIES Decision-Making validate values-driven experience crux trust your heart

    conclude Understanding clarify empathise tune-in scan express structure Creativity brainstorm challenge reframe envision flow flash of insight
 CREATIVE LANGUAGE Can we try ... I know we’re

    done, but what about ... OMG! I just had this great idea ... Why do you think ... Is this the best we can do ...
  9. RECOGNISE UNDERSTANDING LANGUAGE So what you’re saying is ... Just

    to clarify ... I think this is related to ... So I made this spreadsheet ... That must feel horrible!
  10. RECOGNISE DECISION LANGUAGE I’m ready to move on to ...

    I don’t know why I think this, but ... Last time we tried this ... The real problem is ... My gut tells me ...
  11. Bob Wiele The thinking process should be no more left

    to chance
 than the deliberate practice of a skill.
  12. IN SUMMARY • Level 1: Care just enough.
 Improve team

    cohesion. • Level 2: Structure interactions.
 Engineer successful (human interaction) outcomes.
 Improve capacity for diverse thinking. • Level 3: Use another’s perspective.
 Foster creative problem solving.
  13. Maya Angelou I think we all have empathy.
 We may

    not have enough courage to display it.
 EMPATHY follow-up:
 emma @ git for

    teams.com gitforteams.com/resources/cultivating-empathy.html