Empathy is often measured on a scale with two opposing poles. Humans, directed by human nature, are typically “self-oriented” or “other-oriented”. Both can be good, and the degree to which you will see someone’s empathetic behaviors will vary in most situations.
Self-oriented individuals tend to be more focused on themselves and less likely to identify as a team member. It doesn’t mean they can’t work well in a group setting, but it also suggests they will focus on the work assigned to them, and they may be disinterested in helping others – even when asked.
Having a team of “other-oriented” associates isn’t a cure-all either. While these individuals can over-index on responsiveness or consideration, it doesn’t happen all the time. But think back to the situations where associates tend to be overly cooperative and helpful, and… fail to get their work done as a result.
If you have a culture where there is a heavy need for teamwork, candidates and employees who have lower levels of empathy could be problematic. If you are trying to change cultures and gravitate toward a new normal in your operation, take note of your current team and the candidates who apply relative to your perception of empathy. Too much or too little within each team member can be problematic, and situational coaching can go a long way toward driving the outcomes aligned with high productivity and successful team environments.
Across the long term horizon, employers have seen a continuous shift in the applicant pool for every position in a distribution operation. Compare the industrial revolution through the Second World War and then jump to today… the processes are similar, but the jobs are very different. Across your career, you will see tremendous shifts in behavior and technology offerings intended to make the people and processes more efficient. The one constant however, is the DNA of Success.
With decades of warehouse, manufacturing, and logistics experience, we understand the challenges you face when building a team or an organization.