Pretending you care can help your career|
When doctor Rebekah Bernard sees a patient, she doesn’t always find it easy to empathise with them about their medical complaints — particularly if the symptoms are due to a lifestyle disease, such as obesity-related heart disease, the progression of which is within their control.
But regardless of her true feelings, the Florida-based GP always puts the patient first and hides her ambivalence behind a professional and kind demeanour. And she always does her best to help them.
In short, she’s faking it. But it’s to the betterment of her job, her colleagues and her patients, she says. She’s not alone. Many of us say what needs to be said to get the job done. But does that make us inauthentic, or worse, liars?
Well, no. In the workplace, many of us have glossed over tricky topics to keep from embarrassing others, or pretended to care about something when we didn’t. In fact, mastering this behaviour can be a valuable skill – if used sparingly. Whether it’s indulging a long-winded complaint or volunteering for cause you don’t really believe in, there are times when it pays to come across as caring and compassionate, even if you don’t feel genuine about it.
Bernard, for example, often finds that colleagues or patients mirror her emotional state, so coming across as caring — even when she doesn’t feel particularly empathetic — not only makes her work interactions more pleasant, it raises the likelihood of a good medical outcome as her patients are more open to advice.
例如，伯纳德经常发现，同事或病人能映射出她的情绪状态，所以，即使她不觉得感同身受时，她也会给人关怀的印象 - 这不仅使她的工作互动更愉快，也提高了良好的医疗结果的可能性，因为这样，她的病人更愿意接受建议。
“You almost have to deliberately force yourself to act, and when you do …you’ll get better results,” she says. “Maybe you don’t want to call it ‘faking’. I advocate acting.”
But if you’re worried that feigning compassion will make you seem like a phony, how can you ensure come across as genuine? For one, Bernard uses body language. To create a connection, she uses the active listening technique – she leans in when the patient is speaking, lowers herself into a seat so she sees them eye-to-eye, and repeats their statements in her own words to ensure they know they’ve been heard and understood.
Although it takes more energy on stressful days, she says the trade-off is worth it.