CHOW #257 – Have some empathy

Patrick was asked to join a new project for a healthcare company. He found out that the project is in a platform that he has good familiarity and also understands the domain very well. He was also preparing a paper as a part of his online certification course in financial management. Towards that, it would have been better for him to another ongoing development project for a bank. Though he was disappointed, he felt that working in a known platform and known domain may give him some extra work on his paper. On the way to the project initiation meeting, Patrick stops by the cafeteria to grab a cup of coffee. His attention was drawn to someone arguing over phone, which sounded personal and so Patrick ignores. With a cup of coffee in hand, Patrick walks into the project initiation meeting. The person who was on the phone in cafeteria, follows Patrick in to the room and Patrick finds out that he is the new project manager, Palani! Patrick has heard that he is a demanding manager. Soon, during the briefing, Palani shares the pressures in the project and importance of making a strong initial impression, to avoid political pressures from some of client’s management folks. Patrick finds out that he has to assume a tech lead role, with a lot of work to be done upfront and fears that it will impact his paper submission.Patrick tries to convince Palani to assign him a lighter role, which Palani refuses and tries to explain the situation. Patrick is upset with the lack of empathy by Palani and finds it hard to contribute to his potential. 

If you were Patrick, how would you handle the situation? 

Solution to the CHOW:

It so happens, Patrick’s mind is preoccupied with his online course and tends to look at any work load as hinderances and those who want it from him, like Palani in this case, lacking in empathy. A normally congenial and empathetic person, Patrick, due to this situation is unable to show empathy towards Palani. The prejudices he quickly built towards Palani block him from being open. If he overcomes these obstacles and opens up to Palani to understand the situation, Patrick could not only help project to be a success, can also find ways to complete the paper that he very much wanted to complete.


What do you think?

2 Responses

  1. Not an unusual predicament! One is tempted to say that one’s lack of empathy is reciprocated by a matching dose of lack of empathy from others. I believe empathy does not mean only yielding and diluting one’s goals. As in this case, mutual empathy should result in a more open discussion and finding ways & means to move forward together (hopefully personal goals may not need to change drastically but approach may need to).

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