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Cutlivating empathy

Aug 16, 2015


  1. 1. Cultivating Empathy beckstei Dajana: We wanted to give this talk because we both have worked in companies and communities where empathy was not a high priority and that usually led to miscommunication, people holding grudges and contributors burning out and leaving the projects. Leslie: Were hoping our remarks today will help everyone in the audience be better practitioners of empathy so their companies, communities and contributors can be better and stronger together.
  2. 2. @lhawthorn @dajanaguenther Dajana intro Leslie: LH has been doing work in the open source community for more than a decade. Her past projects include Google Summer of Code, she created Google Code In and shes loving life as an American Expat in Amsterdam. But she loves Berlin more. ;)Leslie intro Dajana: Dajana has been very actively involved in the Ruby community in Berlin for some time, as you all probably know. She is a past organizer for the Rails Girls Berlin workshops, she is on the Board of Ruby Berlin EV and is a past organizer of JRubyConf and Eurucamp. She decided to take a break this year and just give a talk. (Aside: this is probably scarier. :)
  3. 3. Why Empathy Matters enerva * LH takes this slide with nod to Dajana at end* What is empathy? - dene and provide an example, distinguish from sympathy - * Empathy is required for everything we do - creating eective products means understanding our users needs, creating eective teams means understanding our colleagues needs. Every problem is basically a question of how to eectively empathize. Through empathy, we create harmony.
  4. 4. Its About You, Too ladydragonyherworld * Dajana takes this slide with nod to LH at the end* Were not necessarily born empathetic, but this is a skill that can be learned and cultivated* Have to know yourself and your feelings - what are your thoughts and feelings? how do you react in particular situations? you need to understand that you act dierently when you are amongst your peers vs. in a board meeting vs. speaking to a customer - it is about knowing yourself and knowing your audience. * People who are empathetic are better negotiators - easier to get things done that benet all parties* Empathy helps you exercise enlightened self-interest
  5. 5. Empathy is a Choice danmoyle * LH takes this slide with nod to Dajana at the end* Draw on the several studies cited NY Times article on 10 July 2015 Empathy is Actually a Choice - avoiding situations where feel empathy will be personally costly, if told empathy can be learned people actually try to do it more
  6. 6. Not an Innate Skill jakerust * You have to be reective - take time every day, write down what happened, how you felt and how you reacted. Over a few weeks you will get to know yourself better.* Talk about some ways it can be learned* ask questions, learn how other people see things* why is something important for a person and you dont care about it or maybe dont like it? (music, art)* Empathy is often built through adversity, so if you are trying very hard to learn, imagine why something is very hard for another person, even when it is very easy for you. For example, have you ever listened to a blind person use a screen reader? Example from Eurucamp last year - Austin Seraphin - blind person using iPhone app that can show the colors of things.
  7. 7. Practice Active Listening aloshbennett * LH takes this slide with nod to Dajana at the end. * Dene active listening * observe and listen to the other person* repeat the verbal and non-verbal message in your own words* key aspect of non-violent communication, the goal of which is to help us remove culturally learned behaviors that cut us o from our compassion for others * Practicing active listening forces you to be empathetic because you have to not only hear what the other person has said, but be rephrasing it in your own words you internalize their perspective* Forces you out of selective hearing mode - which tends to be our default - and gives us the opportunity to build trust and compassion by being open to the other person correcting us about our misperception
  8. 8. Read Fiction calliope * LH takes this slide with nod to Dajana at the end* Empathy is a learnable skill* Reading ction helps you be more empathetic* use your imagination* learn about other people without interacting with other people* make your own picture in your head * Precursor to simple imagining thought exercises - ability to put yourself in someone elses shoes
  9. 9. Be Curious Avoid Assumptions eleaf * Dajana takes this slide with nod to LH at the end.* Refer to Laura Ecks talk from last year: * Assumptions are evil! * Ask questions* There are dierent kinds of questions: open vs. closed questions.* Closed questions are yes / no questions (sometimes with a maybe)* Open questions are W questions - What do you think? Where do you want to go? etc.* Open questions are our friends!
  10. 10. [email protected] Be Explicit Be Inclusive * LH takes this slide with nod to Dajana at the end.* Organizations are made up of individuals* Heres how organizations can encourage empathy / we can lead by example* Real mission statements - refer to ThoughtWorks Social Justice page* Leaders taking a stand for non-leaders / the oppressed - refer to Slack CEOs remarks about * Encouraging an environment of gentle pushback when people make mistakes and *graciously* accepting apologies. We are human and we all make mistakes.
  11. 11. Discourage HiPPOing nilsrinaldi * LH denes HiPPO and hands over to Dajana.* LH: Highest Paid Persons Opinion* Dajana:* make it clear all voices matter* people are socialized based on past experience to not believe that collaboration / consensus is what is actually sought* if you are the HiPPO, it is your job to encourage dialog - ask questions!
  12. 12. alyssalmmaker Dont Flip the Bozo Bit * LH takes this slide with nod to Dajana at the end.* Dene Bozo bit - from Dynamics of Software Development in 1995 by Jim McCarthy* everyone has a bad day, that is not who they are forever* ipping the Bozo bit hurts you just as much as it hurts the other person - no chance to learn
  13. 13. rosauraochoa Make It Truly OK to Fail * Dajana takes with nod to LH at the end.* retrospective instead of post-mortem: nobody died!* appreciation-game - everybody says something positive about another person* one negative stands out over 10 positive things, so push the positive so people always appreciate the positive* helps the team to bond, helps everyone to stay motivated
  14. 14. [email protected] Thank You! LH: So, to recap what weve reviewed today: empathy is a choice and a learnable skill, and we can cultivate it through active listening, reading ction, getting to know yourself and being more self aware, practicing curiousity and avoiding assumptions. Within our organizations, we can be explicit and inclusive in our values, avoid HiPPOing, not ip the bozo bit and ensure that it is truly OK to fail.Dajana: To conclude with a quote from Rumi, Always be kind, for everyone is ghting a hard battle
  15. 15. References Empathy is Actually a Choice, New York Times, July 10, 2015, 2015/07/12/opinion/sunday/empathy-is-actually- a-choice.html How Does Fiction Reading Inuence Empathy? An Experimental Investigation on the Role of Emotional Transportation, Bal and Veltkamp, id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055341
  16. 16. The Legal Bits All images in this presentation are copyright their respective owners and are used with permission under the terms of a Creative Commons license. This presentation is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 ( Please reuse, remix and share widely!
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