Do you dream of…an empathy leader?
Rick Deckard went to sleep. As a bounty hunter, his assignment was to eliminate androids. Through the ‘Voigt-Kampff test’ his draining job was to see if and how androids react in social situations. Then to find out if they are humans or replicants. Firmly you assume that androids lack of empathy. These replicants were created to be exploited. Before to get ready to go after the androids, Rick wakes up and the “mood organ” can handle the feelings depending on the settings. The plot and actually what happens to Rick triggers questions about identity and the importance of relating to others through empathy.
The above scenario is a science fiction story written by Philip K. Dick some 50 years ago, but now look at your own surroundings as you are in an organization – regardless if it is a big corporate or a small start-up: the “mood organ” is your device screen. The use of technology and how we take for granted its centralized access to info and feelings is the setting of this “mood organ”. All of sudden we might question who is really a human and who is an android.
How does it sound? If surreal…How do we consider the value of empathy and leadership? Do we need a… bounty hunter in the real world? We are close to using driverless cars, to delivering goods with drones, we start chewing the fascinating ‘sharing economy’ impact but if we turn the page we read about Susan Fowler about Uber culture and its massive gap in gender inequality in 2017.
If inequality keeps roaring we must discuss how we imagine the world differently and find a way to share this vision. How? Let’s update our views and accustom ourselves to seeing ideas to become a slow unstoppable train to change our society for the best ( Human-Centred Design, Universal Basic Income, Blockchain).
We all are, have been or will be Rick Deckard (or the female alter ego), going back feeling baffled, exhausted or with disbelief and looking for an empathy box. Yet we can make a difference by creating trust, self-esteem and empathy with real world interaction and listening. Social media are tools to use sparingly to take inspiration, not addiction.
We must flip the connection with why we do what we do. The following is a example, how we need to build solid bridges to create an impact. The rules of the game are simple as much as daring, it will engage yourself for life. Adrian Piper frames this concept with a clear message with The Probable Trust Registry:
I always mean what I say
I always do what I say I am going to do
I will always be too expansive to buy
These statements are as simple as inspiring. They frame the spine of our social economic development as a collective and as individuals. In our relationship with ideas, projects, culture and leadership we need principles to build up creativity, trust and empathy. Eventually they won’t give us the answer about the future but they will make us familiar with experimentation and learning as a life-long habit.
You can be an empathy leader.