Like yours probably are, my office bookshelves and Kindle library are chock-full of management and leadership books, and I’ve used bits from these books to help me hire employees and craft our business culture.
But notice I say “craft our business culture” and not “manage employees.” As a user experience (UX) expert, I’ve learned it’s best to intentionally approach management in an investigative way; to first understand and empathize with the user (the employee, in this case), and then design solutions that map to their needs.
In theory, with this approach, you would have to manage less because you have created processes, structures and plans that support employees’ real needs and wants.
The question is, can you really walk in your employees’ shoes and see things from their perspective as a leader? Is it empathy (feeling what they feel, achieving oneness, a sense of unity with others about their view, etc.) or is it projection (having the illusion of understanding their view when it’s really just a way of seeing our own perspectives and biases from a different lens)?
To help me answer that — and learn how to check my beliefs vs. facts about my team — I developed some hacks to help me clear away assumptions and become a better, more empathy-driven leader.