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Empathy Goes Viral

Empathy is one of the many buzz words that have gone ablaze in the last decade; its gone viral.

If you are a champion of compassion, prescribe to the sentiments of empathy, or have a tendency to over-sympathize, you need to understand this term:

Ruinous Empathy.

Kim Scott in “Radical Candor” says: “Ruinous Empathy is seeing somebody with their fly down, but, not wanting to embarrass them, saying nothing, with the result that 15 more people see them with their fly down — more embarrassing for them. So, not so “nice” after all.”

Ruinous Empathy is “short term nice”. It feels good, sounds good, and is easy to hide behind. It says:

  • Sleep in, you deserve it.
  • You tried your best, there’s nothing else you could do.
  • It was their fault.

Although these things are sometimes true, they are sometimes not. They need to be honestly reconciled with the things no one wants to hear:

  • Go to sleep earlier, and wake up earlier.
  • If you wanted it bad enough, you could have done 10x more.
  • It was your fault.

Great companies are empathetic AND honest. It’s where Be Human intersects with being All In.

This is one of the hardest things to get right.

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