This quarter, I found myself in a unique position to try out an empathy self-intervention. For the first time in my life, I was put into a position of real leadership where I was truly held accountable for a large group and was heavily scrutinized by my superiors for the performance of each individual within my group.
Going into this experience, I thought that my aptness for organization and sense of self-motivation would alone propel me to success in my position. However, I quickly realized that managing a group of unique individuals is much more difficult than I thought. Not only to I need to motivate them to want to succeed as much as I do, but I had to find a way to make them work with one another for the benefit of the group as a whole.
I realized that my greatest weakness as a leader was my lack of empathy. In order to motivate these individuals or to understand what needed to be done to improve the group dynamic, I had to first be able to see things through their point of view and perspective. Perhaps the most difficult part of that was articulating how they see myself as a leader. Through this thought process, I realized that I was not acting as a leader, rather I was simply dictating tasks and getting after individuals to complete them. This was grossly ineffective and I knew I had to change by putting myself on their level and seeking out ways to help each individual and making sure they are doing okay not only with their work, but as humans. This intervention drastically improved our group dynamic, and I finally feel like we have healthy relationships as team and leader.