Daniel Goldman, in his book called “Social Intelligence” speaks of the importance of paying attention as one way to build emotional connection, and therefore, empathy. He tells the story of a man collapsing in the subway in New York City during rush hour. You may have guessed – he was shabby and shirtless. Throngs of people were passing by, stepping over his body, in a hurry to get home. Not noticing, and in an “urban trance”.
Mr. Goleman stopped to check on the man. Amazingly, just by taking notice, a remarkable thing happened. Others stopped too. It was discovered that the man had collapsed from hunger. Someone bought a hot dog for him from a street vendor. Another person got him some water, and yet another called an ambulance. The man was going to be ok.
This is a powerful story that we can all take to heart – especially leaders. As you go about your day, in a “corporate trance”, remember to stop and observe. Take notice. Provide nourishment for those around you who are hungry to be fed – with a kind word, some recognition, or simply a brief conversation about something that matters.
What aren’t you noticing? Who can use your assistance? What kind words are needed to feed those around you?