Paying Attention

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?

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.