KNOWLEDGE CENTRE

Be careful with empathy : A word of warning to managers in Early Years

Be careful with empathy : A word of warning to managers in Early Years

April 20, 2024

We often talk about how many managers and owners in Early Years are heart led. When we say this it’s not a criticism, its merely and observation. We feel for you.

When we lead with empathy it can affect the ease in which we make decisions involving people.

This is particularly true when these are difficult decisions to make. Too much empathy can have a disabling rather than enabling effect. An empathetic manager understands what the impact of our words will be and therefore deters themselves from having a conversation.

Empathetic managers recognise that their feedback will be difficult to hear by the new starter who feels like they have nothing to learn and that has been hired to deliver and deliver now.

So what happens? Well the empathetic manager then decides to say nothing not wanting to be seen as reactive and impulsive, despite the impact this person’s behaviours are having on the team.

What we see quite frequently is where too much empathy leads to managers and owners struggling to have conversations they need to have because they know in advance that the conversation will be hard for the employee to receive.

They talk themselves out of taking action.

Now I am not saying to lack empathy. Just be aware of it. I prefer to lead with compassion. We care about our people, so much so that we will have the conversations with them that need to be had. Even if its hard.

We have to be compassionate enough to recognise feelings, including our own. Is it in anyone’s interest to leave conduct issues unchecked? How will the business be enhanced if we do nothing? If not now, when? What does our procrastination mean for our capability to deliver world class early years education?

Compassion doesn’t stop you taking action, it means you take the right action, with the right people at the right time.

If you need any assistance with any aspect of managing in your Day Nursery, Pre-school or Club, please give us a call on 01527 909436.

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