The modern workforce has a substantial empathy gap

There no bad dogs, only bad owners

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Online reviews of hotels, restaurants and professional service firms are an invaluable resource for insight into the human condition.

In fact, if you search strategically, you can unearth some interesting interactional patterns, both from positive and negative experiences.

One of the keyword phrases that brought up thousands of entries was:

Made me feel stupid for.

This particular query was sparked by a friend of mine who recently fumed about the horrible bedside manner of her new dentist. And so, curious if her experience pointed to a more general principle, I did a little research.

Within five minutes, I discovered that customers complain about this sort of thing all the time. In every industry, too. Everyone from doctors to accountants to valet parkers to receptionists are making customers feel stupid for any number of things.

For asking, for trying, for showing up, for not thinking, for wanting something, for being new, for getting upset, for not knowing, for not understanding, for making a suggestion, even for simply bringing something to the employee’s attention.

In short, these businesses are making customers feel stupid for being human.

And it breaks my heart. Because it represents a critical gap in emotional intelligence. An absence of forgiveness and acceptance and understanding and, god forbid, compassion.

Of course, the blame doesn’t solely rest on the employees. When the condescending receptionist snubs the uninformed new patient, and that individual goes online and leaves a one star review about how the staff made her feel stupid during her first visit, I blame the leaders.

Because they’re the ones who hired and trained the snubber. It’s like going to a dog park and getting angry at the pit bull for biting your dachshund.

It’s not his fault. There no bad dogs, only bad owners.

The point is, the modern workforce has a substantial empathy gap.

It starts at the top, and leaders aren’t willing to bring compassion and forgiveness and acceptance to the forefront, more bad reviews can be expected in perpetuity.

What do your employees see when they see people?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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