Canadian HR Strategy

Spring/Summer 2016

Human Resources Issues for Senior Management

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CANADIAN HR STRATEGY/17 And you're more aware, so even when you have to make dif- cult decisions, you understand what the implications of those are and you manage them accordingly." Empathy really is the ability to park your own biases, your own role and your own set of experiences to truly put yourself in someone else's shoes so you can understand the world from their perspective, says Debby Carreau, founder of Inspired HR in Calgary. And leaders, as they grow, get further and further away from other people's roles, and the roles they once had, she says, "not only because of the time factor but also because the world has changed dramatically and so often what we'll do is we'll paint everyone with the same brush when the reality is no one's ex- perience is exactly the same." Empathy is a sense of awareness, says David Town, president of Your Leadership Matters in Aurora, Ont. "It's an awareness and an appreciation for others' feelings and perspectives." And it's critically important for building relationships, he says. "The skill of demonstrating empathy contributes very pro- foundly to coaching because without a strong relationship, it's hard to have a conversation where you're in uencing someone without just telling them what to do or ordering them... So from a relationship perspective…. there's really two main ways to in- uence people — hard tactics and soft tactics," says Town. "And I think we're nding that soft tactics are more appeal- ing for gen y and gen x and it requires the skill of appreciating someone's feelings." feature/empathy Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

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