The power of understanding

The power of understanding and empathy is not only a basic principle of human decency, but it is also a basic feature of every entrepreneur. That’s what I call being a leader. You must empathise with your team and your must empathise with your clients. Having an understanding of the needs of those around us is crucial to help us decide the best way to solve problems.

Understand your team

If you work in a team, you will know that, from time to time, problems will arise. It may be a team problem that everyone needs to solve or it may be a team member experiencing some issues and needing help. Unfortunately, these days there’s a lot of lack of leadership and sometimes it translates into contracts being lost or internal problems. Ultimately this will damage the company.

A good leader must have a great understanding of their team. They should know their capabilities and their difficulties, not to criticise them or look them down, but to help them address those difficulties and allow them to grow and reach their full potential.

It may be a work or personal problem. Of course, we should not get involved in our team’s personal lives, but if they are experiencing some difficulties and open up about them, we should empathise with them and offer support. You may think that it is not your call to solve your team member’s personal problems, and it isn’t, but if you empathise with them, they will feel supported and understood and ultimately they will produce more. If the problem is work-related then it is your duty as a leader to help solve it. Again, with empathy and respect so your team feel they are supported and they have a good leader to lead them to great things.

Understand your clients

It is also important to empathise with your clients. We are there to solve their problems after all, so if you cannot understand their problems how can we be able to help them? Makes sense right?

Taking about translation as an example. Companies may know exactly what they want and have a person encharged of contacting translators or translation agencies. But sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they may be a small business that needs to apply for a license overseas, they may not be familiar with the process and the language barrier may also play a part. The same for private clients, they may need to apply for a visa or any other document and it may be difficult for them to know exactly what they need. Think about it, when you go to a doctor you don’t have to know everything about your diagnoses, you trust your doctor to do that for you and to explain what is the problem. I believe, as translators, we have exactly the same duty. We need to ask questions and understand the client’s problem and then help them explaining the process and what they need and, most importantly, how you can help them solve their problem. This will make them feel understood and they will trust you. Just like you keep going back to your doctor because you trust him, they may do the same to you.

For me, this is what makes us humans, and that should also apply to entrepreneurs.

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