Blog by Joe Babaian
“It doesn’t take an instant more, or cost a penny more, to be empathetic than it does to be indifferent.” – Brian Lee.
Last Friday, I was fortunate to spend some time with my #hcldr partner and friend Colin @colin_hung at an impromptu dinner here in Houston! Fortunately, Colin was flying from San Antonio to D.C. and decided Houston was a great pit stop. Colin joined me and #hcldrs Bonnie Sheeren @bonniesheeren plus Liz Kelly @Elizabe85727641 for a wonderful dinner and chat! The simple care and empathy during that conversation stood out to me – without “a penny more” we kindly discussed serval healthcare issues, including contentious ones, with ideas for progress and without stress. Does this mean we all agreed on everything? I hope not! An echo chamber certainly is not the solution to the problems and opportunities we now face in healthcare, I’m sure you agree!
With this in mind, let’s think about #empathy and its value – both in terms of its subjective value and its return on (emotional) investment. The quote I selected for the lede of the blog makes the argument that to employ empathy costs nothing more and the alternative is indifference. Having had the privilege to interact and work with so many great people in healthcare, I propose that empathy does have a varying emotional cost for most. This is not a negative, but an observation. The “cost” is the one of self-reflection that requires one to choose to dig deep and find your own emotional connection to the situation at hand. We’d be doing a disservice to consider this “free” – indeed, the effort is proportional to the outcome, countering indifference.
We can readily see that this cost is something that doesn’t drain us but allows us to act with purpose, wherever we find ourselves in healthcare. The “cost” is always returned with interest if we let allow it. Whether we interact within the business-to-business side of healthcare or the vast patient-care arena, we can readily see the value of empathy in action. In both cases, employing empathy allows for deeper, more functional and caring interactions. These aspects, when married together, create progress and care regardless if we are talking the business of healthcare or the purely human side. Plus, where’s the line in any case?
Empathy in action, along with our growing emotional intelligence (EQ) that gives us the tools needed to maintain empathy in different situations, is simply the healthy way for us to be a real and dynamic part of healthcare.
Let’s join the collective #hcldr community to examine the return on empathy (ROE)!
Please join us Tuesday, November 07, 2017, at 8:30 pm ET (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:
- T1: How does employing empathy “cost” you anything in relation to the benefits? Examples?
- T2: How and should everyone in healthcare be working toward greater empathy? Can it and #EQ be taught?
- T3: How do we handle situations in healthcare where empathy seems to interfere with efficient interactions? Is this possible?
- T4: What value do you place on empathy and EQ personally and/or organizationally? Critical for success or not?
Image Credit: imgur.com/a/B7sQV