In my post on “What tools are in your tool belt?” I cited empathy as one of the key skills for program managers. It’s something we look for in the program managers we hire at Zendesk, where I work. Program managers, and really all professionals, should bring empathy to bear to keep work moving forward during these challenging times. How do we do that?

  • Listen. Our colleagues are telling us what’s wrong, but we need to ensure we’re tuned in to them.
  • Intuit. In our diverse workforce, some will struggle to make themselves heard. We need to feel and sense what’s really going on.
  • Care. This means we’ll be taking on others’ burdens. But that’s where the next part comes in…
  • Solve problems. Once someone has shared a problem, we need to gather the right people together to come up with some solutions. And then find a way to unload that burden at the end of our work day.

Times are hard right now, in ways that we couldn’t have imagined. Now more than ever, we program managers can harness our empathy superpower to make things just a bit better.