Empathy

Compliance officers spend a lot of their time dealing with noncompliance.

If we let it, it’s easy to slip into a place where we assume that others engage in wrongdoing on purpose and with ill intent.

The cure is to remind ourselves of our own instances of noncompliance. When we were jet-lagged and tired and snapped at a colleague. When we made an inappropriate request because we didn’t understand the culture. When we acted on bad information. When we lied to protect a loved one.

It is true that good people do bad things. Including us. Whenever we see wrongdoing, we must use empathy to understand why it happened. Seeing how we behaved similarly in the past is a great hack.

To be clear, an employee’s wrongdoing, even when understood, will still need to be addressed through disciplinary action. But it can be done without bitterness or contempt. These two emotions do not serve us well.

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