Being Better: Leading With Empathy And Compassion

By Michael Kurland, launched Branded Group in 2014, transforming the facility management industry with his vision to #BeBetter.

Business people talking in meeting in board room

In my company, our #BeBetter philosophy permeates everything we do from responding to customer service calls to celebrating accomplishments to treating each other and ourselves with kindness, empathy and compassion. This commitment to doing things better is the cornerstone of why I launched my business.

Last year, 2020 tested everyone’s resolve and forced us into a new way of life and a different rhythm of work. Additionally, we had to repeatedly tap into our creativity to figure out how we could take care of ourselves as traditional “feel good” activities were curtailed. In order to ensure that our teams and our customers were well cared for, we had to learn new ways to make and sustain meaningful connections.

Fill Up Your Well

As we settled in to only seeing our friends and colleagues on a screen, it became more challenging to deeply connect and strengthen our relationships. Yet this critical component of both personal and professional success cannot be ignored. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we need each other more than ever, and we must do all we can to be a good friend, neighbor and colleague.

We can only give of ourselves when we have something to give, which is why it is so important to pay attention to and invest in our physical, mental and emotional well-being. I recently changed up my workout routine with the purchase of a Peloton bike. At first, it was intimidating, yet after a few hours, I found this new way to exercise exhilarating. I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and I’ve recommitted to investing in my health.

Change Your Focus

In addition to strengthening my physical muscles, my team and I are seeking out ways to strengthen our empathy and compassion muscles. The challenges of a global pandemic have stretched all of us to our limits. Tempers are shorter. Patience is waning. Burdens are greater.

Yet, if we’re not careful, we can get too wrapped up in our own lives and ignore or discount what may be happening with others around us. While we are all in the same storm, not everyone is experiencing it in the same way. Therefore, it is vitally important that we do our best to put ourselves in other’s shoes and be understanding as well as do what we can to help. By turning up our radar and noticing even the slightest behavioral changes, we may discover that our team members or loved ones are struggling in silence.

It is our responsibility to reach out, have an open and honest conversation and work together toward solutions. When we take our eyes off of ourselves, we can change lives, we can eliminate others’ stress and we can make someone’s life better.

Let Go To Lift Up

Let’s face it — this past year been a roller coaster ride, and it’s likely some of us are getting burned out. However, by focusing on our physical health, reaching out to others and taking care of ourselves, we will lift up ourselves while lifting up those around us.

Meditating for 30 minutes, learning a new language, doing yoga or pursuing whatever passion we enjoy can help to alleviate the pressures of the day. We must give ourselves a break and step away from the need to be everything to everyone. Multitasking is so last year. Empty words without execution is so last year.

As leaders, we need to show our teams that even though the lines between work and home may be blurred as we continue to work remotely, let’s not lose focus on supporting our teams, paying closer attention to subtle changes in work habits or behaviors and helping them in whatever way they need.

I’m focusing on executing my own and my team’s self-care commitments this year — putting into practice all the words and actions that we aspire to so that we can be better together. When we step out, we can see the big picture and make the necessary changes that will ensure all of us achieve our goals.

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