Without Empathy, It's a Jungle Out There at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Without Empathy, It's a Jungle Out There at Disney's Animal Kingdom

An important key to leadership is empathy, something I am continually trying to improve on. Indeed, the whole world needs to practice this one.

A few days ago we offered a Disney at Play podcast, What We Love Most About Disney’s Animal Kingdom. That podcast included two of my daughters and my son-in-law. In today’s podcast I invite my wife, as we share a couple of experiences also set in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While we talk about our son’s autism, the focus is about listening, understanding, and providing empathy.

You can find our podcast here on PodbeaniTunesSpotifyMyTuner, and ListenNotes.

NOTE: This podcast and post was largely prepared prior to protests surrounding the death of George Floyd. I note this at the beginning of the post, and also, about an article where police put down weapons in an effort to better listen to protestors. This kind of approach is what this post and podcast emphasizes–an approach that would do much to heal this broken world.

Empathy Matters

“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives”. –Oprah Winfrey

According to the Workplace Empathy Monitor report, empathy impacts employee productivity, engagement, and even loyalty. For instance:

  • 77% of workers would be willing to work more hours for a more empathetic workplace; meanwhile, 60% would actually accept a slashed salary for the same.
  • 92% of HR professionals note that a compassionate workplace is a major factor for employee retention.
  • 80% of millennials noted that they would leave their current job if their office became less empathetic. 66% of Baby Boomers also shared this sentiment.

The Need for Empathic Listening

Being an Empathic Listener is critical to success of any leader. Showing empathy requires focus and critical thinking skills. It is more than a casual listening ear at the I offer some key points around empathic listening on my Performance Journeys site: Check this out.

Souvenirs for Your Organization

Here are some takeaways for you and your organization–and they’re free!

  • Who are the customers that are most difficult to deal with?
  • What are you doing to better understand them and serve them?
  • As a customer yourself, do you have empathy towards those who serve you?
  • On a scale of 1-10, what empathy do you have towards those you serve? What will it take to move it up a notch or two.
  • What is the difference between being heard but not listened to? How is that reflected with these various listening skills?
  • How do you feel when someone has really empathized with you? How do you feel when one goes through the motions but still doesn’t seem to understand you?

Autism & More

If you would like to check out more of Kathy’s articles on Autism. Her story and so much more can be found at our DisneyatPlay.com site.

My story about our son, and so many more can be found in this book, The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney. It’s available through Amazon. Please check it out!

2nd Edition of The Wonderful World of Customer Service by J. Jeff Kober.
2nd Edition of The Wonderful World of Customer Service by J. Jeff Kober.

J. Jeff Kober