Nadella got the job nonetheless, but since then he understood the importance of empathy in work and in his personal life.
Satya Nadella, the brilliant Microsoft CEO, often narrates how he almost did not get a job in Microsoft. The manager of the company, Richard Tait, asked him in an interview: “Imagine you see a baby laying on the street, and the baby is crying. What do you do?” Nadella quickly replied: “You call 911.”
As the interviewer walked Nadella out of his office, he put his arm around Nadella and said: “You need some empathy. If a baby is laying on the street crying, you pick up the baby.”
Nadella got the job nonetheless, but since then he understood the importance of empathy in work and in his personal life. Empathy is the ability to share others’ feelings and experiences. It is deeper than sympathy because it is feeling with others, not feeling for others. When someone is miserable deep down, you are happy that it is not you who is suffering. You are in a higher position so you can help the other out, whereas the road to empathy goes through yourself.
For Osho empathy is a non-violent communication not known to many people. In empathy you participate in others’ being, transmit your energy to others. The next question would be, can one acquire empathy? Yes, it is an innate trait lying dormant in everyone, but it has to be cultivated. It is not a refresh button you can suddenly turn on when there is a need. The road to empathy goes through yourself. Empathy can be developed if you first own your mistakes, if you learn to forgive yourself, if you understand that nobody is perfect.
Once you come to that deeper realisation, you don’t judge as quickly, you listen better and you can amplify people’s strengths, not focus on their weaknesses. In a big company that is always working with highly technical issues, people get bogged down by long static working hours, constant brain-work with no physical activity. In this scenario, the leader has to feel one with his employees. It will create trust in the employees and they will be recharged to take the work to a new level.
Osho says: “When someone is receiving your sympathy, you move into a superior position, and he becomes lowly and humble. If you look into your heart, you will find a kind of pleasure in sharing your sorrow for his condition. Sympathy is a false thing; it is a deception. If we understand fully when our sympathy is genuine, we experience unhappiness in another’s unhappiness, and joy in another’s happiness. Even then it is still violent; it cannot be non-violent because as long as the other is there, it cannot fulfil the conditions of nonviolence. Non-violence is an experience of non-duality and violence is the experience that there is an ‘I’ separate from the other.”