Help me become more empathetic.

  1. Some time ago I was praised for my stern, no nonsense, yet consistently fair approach to home health staff-holding all accountable to the same standards. Since then, we've build a stronger, solid team of clinicians and morale has improved......Now, some time later, I am being told I lack empathy.

    I guess at times, I can lack empathy as I really couldn't care less about their problem, my focus is more on working together to find a solution that benefits the staff member with the problem and their need, a solution that does not compromise the operations of the agency, nor the needs of our patients.

    I've been praised on my ability to monitor the day to day operations, manage my budget, increase volume etc etc etc..... but now need to build on my relationships with staff and earn their trust and become more empathetic.

    Any words of wisdom from our fellow leaders?

    I have a sincere desire to manage effectively and succeed in this role. I've got a lot of the technical stuff down, and now realize this may be my stumbling block. Advice greatly appreciated.
  2. Visit desertnurz profile page

    About desertnurz

    Joined: Dec '10; Posts: 14; Likes: 5
    Specialty: 12 year(s) of experience in Home Care


  3. by   Davey Do

    A couple of things come to mind. One is that old TV cigarette add: "What do you want- good grammar or good taste?" It sounds like you get the job done without the sugar coating. Personally (and professionally) I'd rather work with a no nonsense straight from the hip shooter like yourself than some bleeding heart do gooder.

    So my advice to you is to learn some acting skills. If empathy is what they want, and it's not a natural part of your personality, then learn some lines. And always be sure to say the person's name you're addressing:

    "I'm sorry you feel that way, John. Is there any sort of arrangement or compromise we can come to that would satisfy your needs,?"

    "I'm doing my best to understand what you're trying to say, Jane. Perhaps if you rephrased your statement, I could respond more appropriately."

    "Tell me how you feel about that, Judas. Then we'll go from there."

    The lady who started Mary Kay (I guess her name was Mary Kay) said that she became successful after she realized that her job was to make Clients FEEL important. Now, I'm relatively sure she was no Mother Theresa. But she had the ability to give comfort through her products and make a profit to boot!

    I guess that's what you have to do. If your people are looking for empathy, you need to give them a reasonable facsimile. As long as you know you're being fake, it's okay. To thine KNOWN self be true.

    The best to you, desertnurz.

  4. by   hospicevet 20
    I really don't think that acting is the way to do it. Personally, if a person makes it a point to say my name and then proceeds to spew out some feel good drivel, I know it's BS, and so does anyone with any sense at all. It does not make me feel listened to or valued. Talking without listening does little to help relationship building. If these people are important to the organization you work for, let them know that they are also important to you. Let them know that you value their input. I don't think you have to be a "bleeding heart" to understand that your team is essential to your work. Someone once told me that there is no gain in disdain.
  5. by   Nascar nurse
    Quote from hospicevet 20
    Personally, if a person makes it a point to say my name and then proceeds to spew out some feel good drivel, I know it's BS, and so does anyone with any sense at all.

    My thoughts exactly...I'm not 2 & I HATE being talked to in this manner. Comes off as completely fake. I will take the all business/serious boss any day over the fake boss.
  6. by   americanTrain
    You cant satisfy them no matter what you do, just do your job as the real person you are. If they dont like it, they can find someone who is fake and "everyone will know it". Be yourself. I was hired on because I was sympathetic and caring and fair. Now I'm being told that Im not stern enough and that I lack empathy. Well, maybe thats what management turns you into, a robot. In other words, you cant have it both ways! YuK to management..
  7. by   debRN0417
    I always tried to stop and think what the other person may be would I want to be responded to?
  8. by   ocean waves
    Hello. I agree with the poster who said "...think of what other person may be would I want to be responded to?" Sometimes during the pressure of a hard job a temporary lack of empathy can unintentionally develop in nursing directors. I know a DON who is oh so sharp in many of her management skills, however she seems to have a temporary "empathy deficit" regarding two areas: (1)communication with employees--sometimes she really wears employees out with non-essential chatter-employees have even kindly asked her to phone text info to them, however she does not seem to get this "hint" ; (2)communication with friends---sometimes she talks to them as though they were her employees, dominating some conversations and cutting friends off when they are talking--when friends say "please wait and let me explain what I was trying to say", she does not seem to take this "hint" either. Maybe the wisdom here regarding empathy is to use the "Golden Rule" of doing unto others as we would have others to do us and to listen for "hints" of needs from employees, patients, and friends. Best wishes.

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