By Donya Parrish, MCU VP-Risk Management
I heard some good advice this week that I thought it was worth passing along. It’s pretty simple and might not be that easy to put into practice; but, it could make all the difference in this stressful and divisive time. What is it? Practice empathy!
As credit union volunteers, community leaders, spouses, friends, parents, and more, we all have a lot of anxiety and fear in this “time of COVID.” Whether it is the unknown duration, the fear of you or someone close to you getting ill, the economic uncertainty, or just the fact that everything feels different, we have a lot of stress on our shoulders right now.
If you add to that the compounded realities of financial difficulties and regular life, you can see why it might be worth taking a minute to step back, breathe, and see if you can lead with understanding and compassion.
Empathy is broadly defined as “the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference.” It does not mean you have to agree with their views and certainly does not mean you have to empower their choices, but it does require the ability to listen, to care, and to try to understand another’s point of view a little better.
As I stated, I am personally trying to be more empathetic in my daily interactions with others. Right now a lot of those take place while I’m driving across town in traffic, so it is especially challenging — but my view is shifting. I challenge you to take your empathy hat to your next board meeting and see how it might change your perspective. And, while you’re at it, give yourself some grace for leading your credit union during this challenging time too!