Weaponized Empathy

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A coaching client told me about a painful interaction with her manager.

Her vice president told her: “I am stunned that, at your level, you don’t know the basics of your job.”

And my client, a director with years of experience at some of the largest companies in the region, immediately began to doubt herself.

“Maybe he’s right,” said my client. “I approach things differently than he does. … I’ve always been good at my job, but it’s hard to remember when your boss says something like that.”

I could see my client’s confidence leaking away; I could see her internalizing that comment.

“Listen, I can think of three avenues to explore here,” I told my client. “One, you can go find out if there’s a kernel of truth to his comment so that you can learn and improve.” (Go, growth mindset!)

“Two, you can have a very direct conversation and hold him accountable for that toxic comment,” I said. “And three, you can assume it’s mostly about him…”

(Read the rest of the story at The Seattle Times.)