Empathy and dead aunts

A few days ago I had a look at a training video on LinkedIn. The course was about “Empathy for Customer Service Professionals” and while I was actually looking for something completely different I was hooked. (That’s what often happens on these platforms – the algorithms send you merrily through the inventory and at some point you’ve completely forgotten what you were originally looking for).

The course was relatively short and an American trainer explained clearly what empathy is all about. Some practical examples were role-played.

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Did I get this error wrong?

I am currently engaged in lifelong learning. And while learning to learn, I came across the terms “mistake“ and “error”. Very familiar vocabulary in everyday life. But as a learner, I asked myself the typical systemic question: What exactly is the difference here? Although the terms denote something different, there are also similarities. Do we always consciously deal with the different meanings of these terms in everyday life? According to my observations, not really, and I include myself in that. So, since different terms also mean different things, I set out to find the difference. What, at best, could I learn from this difference, I asked myself curiously. Well, let’s see…

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Leadership? – How can I help you?

A young man walks purposefully towards a shop. The shop is hardly recognisable as such because there is no shop window. A simple sign hangs above the entrance door. It says “Pharmacy” and in slightly smaller letters underneath it “for Leadership”. The man enters and opening the door triggers a shrill ringing. He barely has time to look around the small salesroom before an older gentleman with white hair and a dishevelled full beard appears from behind the counter.

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Do we really live in a knowledge society?

There are countless terms for our present: the digital age, the Information Society, the Post-industrial Era, the Anthropocene. That’s not even all of them. One of them is the Knowledge Society. And according to various sources, that’s exactly what we’re living in now. Do you feel you live in a knowledge society? I once asked myself this question and these thoughts ran through my head.

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In Praise of Respite (Part 4)

Inspired by Max Frisch’s questionnaires, the questions below are meant to invite you, dear reader, to reflect on how you deal with breaks. Perhaps you would like to look more closely at one or two of the questions. Perhaps one question in particular concerns you. Take a conscious break and write down what comes to your mind about the questions. In this way learn how you treat interruptions. By reflecting on the questions, you will learn more about your attitude towards “downtime” and whether or not you want to change your specific behaviour. The collection is subjective. Maybe there are other other issues about this topic that you refelect on.  There is so much more to discover…

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Happiness is not a gift from the gods…

… but the fruit of inner attitudes.1

I have been working as a leadership coach for many years. Every few weeks, I go in this role to a monastery with managers who have lost their jobs. In the workshop we work on the themes of inner images, the future, failure, fear, hope and so forth.

They have been dismissed because of a personal conflict, have fallen victim to restructuring or have themselves decided to leave the company. What the participants have in common is that they previously had power over others and now have lost it. Until now, they had been used to developing visions, strategies and concepts and making decisions for others. Now, others have often decided over them.

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From learning to knowing and back

It would be nice if I could tell you my core message right at the beginning and thus enable you to decide right here whether it is worth reading on.

But things are different. For the moment I am glad to have overcome this inhibition in front of a blank page. Just as Heinrich von Kleist expressed himself about the gradual development of thoughts while speaking, so I am writing here about a gradual development of my own thoughts while writing.

The title promises something like a journey, a thought journey. I invite you to accompany me. I love travelling and moreover it is a beautiful metaphor.

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A divided society mirroring our selves

The following text is a guest contribution by Gabriele Guthmann. She runs a practice for psychological counselling, energy work and consciousness coaching, and lives in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Our society is subject to increasing polarization, according to a recent survey by the Konrad Adenauer Trust. A look at the development of German society since the turn of the millennium shows a growing imbalance in international comparison with countries like Sweden or Denmark.

The imbalance of income structures, political and economic uncertainties lead to the experience of different truths of our social values. A society that has allowed itself to lean back on security and stability for decades is falling into increasing disorientation. This results in fear of loss, aggression, excessive demands and the feeling of being separated from others.

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Holding up the mirror

HR Business Partner – the modern court jester in companies?

This is a contribution by our guest author Christoph Henties. Christoph already published the three-part “Organisations Learn Jazz” in June this year. We are very happy to have him back this week.

Recently, in a conversation with an experienced, committed HR manager, she quoted one of  her superiors: “Our job in HR is solely to implement the board’s decisions and measures.” I visibly felt the restrictive effect of this statement of loyalty to the hierarchy on my interviewee. The disappointment at neglecting one’s own ideas for constructively shaping creative personnel work for employees and the organization was all too noticeable.

The concept of the court jester came to my mind: a figure who could tell the authorities unpleasant truths without fearing the consequences. This figure could mention the unspeakable. It had the task of telling the ruler the truth, had the freedom of fools.

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