“Walk a mile in my shoes. See what I see. Hear what I hear. Feel what I feel. Then maybe you will understand why I do what I do, till then don’t judge me.”
When it comes to understanding our landlords and tenants, their behaviours, their actions and their reactions, there is perhaps no better way to appreciate their position than to simply walk a mile in their shoes. Of course in reality is it highly improbable, so the best thing we can do is empathise.
Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Showing empathy doesn’t mean you agree with the person’s position, it doesn’t mean you would react in the same way, what it does mean is you do your absolute best to understand them.
I know as I age in both time on the planet and time in the CEO chair I have had to work pretty hard at maintaining my empathy, especially when I would rather replace it with a roar. Remembering that my perspective is but that, a perspective, two parties are right in their own mind and for a common approach to be reached we must first understand each other’s vantage point.
Paul McGee in his book SUMO speaks of two people looking at a beach ball, each seeing different colours, but yet looking at the same thing, just from a different perspective. All it takes is for the ball to be spun for the two to see clearly they were both right in their colour descriptions. Imagine how different your daily interactions would be with your clients, customers and team if you but stopped to empathise. Would what you do change? Would how you behave differ? I’d suggest for most of us the answer would be yes.
I really could write about empathy all day long, but for now I’ll just ask you to ask yourself, do you come at conversations from a place of understanding or judgement? Which one do you think would bring a better result? If you want to develop empathy towards your landlords, I cannot recommend our webinar this week, “walking in the shoes of your landlord”, it’s one of our most favoured sessions. It will probably even show you that you really do need to go without that smashed avocado to buy a home…. Bring on the baked beans.