As an organization
When I left my last job at Unbounce and was asked in my exit interview what I liked most about working there, I expressed how grateful I was that they always treated me as a person. While it might seem like a cliché, it’s important to make sure your employees feel valued as individuals, not just a herd of worker bees buzzing in the same direction.
That’s undoubtedly easier at a small organization, but even as Unbounce grew I saw people being treated as individuals, whose lives were supported by this place we all worked. It creates an impressive bond with you and the place you work, and it’s something that a lot of traditional organizations get wrong — assuming that they must follow a one size fits all approach.
For example, when I had to deal with things in my personal life, Unbounce was incredibly gracious and worked with me to find solutions. In return when things at work needed more of my attention, I focused that way. It’s much more difficult to create hard and fast rules around hours worked, but I can tell you I worked much harder in that environment (and continue to in a similar one at my current job) than I have in others, because I felt that it was a true partnership.
For your co-workers
Empathy for your co-workers manifests itself as an environment where everyone is pulling in the same direction, trusting every team member is doing their part to contribute to the overall vision. Growing empathy between teams is a big part of what I like in Product Marking.
It means that when a feature is delayed, the Marketing Team understands why so they can adjust their plans rather than becoming frustrated with their peers.
It means that when a customer complains about a perceived feature gap, the Support team understands why so they can have an informed discussion, rather than blaming someone.
It means that when the Marketing Team is putting together a campaign, they’re selling every aspect of your products functionality, not overstating what’s possible meaning that the Support Team will have repeated difficult conversations resetting customer expectations.
An important part of empathy for your colleagues is an organization that empowers people to act, make decisions, and hold people accountable to those decisions. Someone who’s empowered and accountable is pushed to share the context behind their actions, and build consensus for their decision. It’s a fine balance, and one that I’ll cover in more depth when I dive into Empowerment & Accountability soon. 😀
This post is part of series on Actionable Lessons From a High-Growth Startup »