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Empathy in the workplace: The mark of a true leader

Empathy in the workplace is not only an important element of emotional intelligence, but also a skill that needs to be developed and practiced to enhance personal and professional leadership.

You may be familiar with one definition of empathy as “feeling someone else’s pain.” It is the idea that if someone is suffering, you are able to feel that person’s pain vicariously.

Empathy is also the ability to understand and share another person’s experiences, emotions and feelings, and not limited to sadness, pain or suffering. It is any and all feelings, even positive ones — to feel — in union with another person, regardless of whether they reflect your own situation or similar ones.

Developing the skill of empathy in the workplace is to work towards intentionally feeling the emotions of another as your own, and to express understanding and support. It is also about giving the gift of the moment by placing your own experiences, beliefs, feelings, emotions and relative situation on pause in order to honor the other person’s moment.

The fact that you may be feeling empathetic towards another person does not necessarily mean that person is feeling your empathy. Empathy needs to be expressed in order to be felt by the person who is experiencing the situation originally.

Empathy in the workplace is being recognized as a team building and leadership skill that improves team productivity, increases morale in the work force and even translates into more satisfied clients and customers.

Five tips to practice empathy in the workplace

Here are five simple tips you can develop, practice and enhance to improve your own process of honoring others with the gift of empathy.

1) Empathy is about the other person, and not about you.

Because empathy is a gift, in order to give it, you need to agree to put yourself and your own experiences on pause for a moment and let it be about the other person, and not about you.

If a colleague shares good news like: “I’m so happy about my second year-end review, it went really well and I also received a generous gift card for dinner at M’s Steakhouse!”

Your reaction needs to remain focused on the topic at hand. A non-empathetic response might sound like, “Oh, I just got a huge promotion, a pay increase and a trip to Hawaii for my twenty years of service”.

In this situation, you are missing an opportunity to give the gift of empathy by switching the focus to your own promotion. Your friend now feels compelled to honor your news, considered a longer achievement. Your friend’s joy will likely be diminished comparatively.

An empathetic response might be, “Congratulations! You are such an asset to the company, I’m glad they recognized your contributions. Enjoying dinner at the best steakhouse in town isn’t too shabby either.”

2) Timing and context are critical when giving the gift of empathy.

A colleague may share news with you that have no connection to another situation of which you are aware. To give the gift of empathy, be mindful of your audience, timing and context.

If you are aware of something unfortunate that happened to someone you know, be aware of the right moment to share it with another person. Sharing at the wrong time could prevent you from being in the moment for someone else.

Let’s say someone you know is going through a challenging divorce. Then someone at the office happily shares her engagement news with you: “Guess what? Mark just proposed to me last night! We’ll be getting married next August!”

To feel and express empathy for your recently engaged colleague, you have to be able to compartmentalized the two situations by not bringing up the situation of the other person’s pending divorce.

A non-empathetic response would be, “Engaged? Good for you! I’m sad to say Jessica in Finance isn’t so lucky, her divorce is a mess!”

This completely changes the dynamic of the conversation. Your newly engaged colleague may now feel bad that something good has happened for her.

3) Empathy is sharing someone else’s feelings, all feelings, negative and positive.

Remember empathy in the workplace is to understand and share any and all feelings, even positive ones like happiness, joy, success, hope and optimism.

If an intern shared with you: “I’m so happy we get to do a lot of fun games and activities during the summer with the other interns.”

A non-empathetic reaction might be, “That’s because you’re an intern, wait until you are a full-time employee. You’ll see, it won’t be all about playing games, you’ll have to work very hard and it won’t be as fun.”

In this example, the senior employee is not able to understand and share the feelings of the junior associate. The intern is happy and expressing something that gives him or her joy.

An empathetic response could be, “How fun! What kind of activities do you guys do? What is your favorite? It’s so nice that they make sure you have team bonding activities and that it’s fun for you!” In this case, the senior employee is joining in on the intern’s feelings of happiness.

4) Empathy is letting the person own his or her experience.

It’s not uncommon for some people to want to help someone who is going through an experience by providing a different context to prevent that person from owning their experience.

However, it can be empowering for people to go through their own experiences, which over time can be self-healing.

For example, if a colleague shared with you: “I’m so sad, my cat Gracie recently died. She was with me for 15 years!” And you react with, “It’s okay; don’t feel sad, cats only live about 15 years, so it was to be expected. Don’t worry; feel fortunate that you had her for so long. I can help you find another cat. Come on, we can go get a new cat this afternoon if you want?”

In this case, even though your intentions are good, they may prevent your colleague from going through her own grief and loss, which is important for her to process in her own way.

You might be interested: How business leaders can spur diversity in the workplace 

5) To express empathy you need to be intentional about it.

Be intentional about manifesting the empathy that you are feeling for a person who is sharing his or her situation. Perhaps responses like, “I’m so sorry, there seem to be no words I can say to help you feel better,” or “Is there anything I can do to bring you any comfort right now?”

No matter how hard the situation, there may be something you can say or do to make the person feel a little better, and that is to give the gift of empathy.

It is the gift of joining in the feeling, any feeling, and honoring the person’s situation by listening and believing, by staying focused on the person’s situation and by giving your gift of time, understanding, friendship, love and support.

I hope these five tips help you as you go on your quest for building your leadership skills to be there for colleagues, employees, clients, even relatives, friends, and strangers with the beautiful gift of empathy, which is a gift from the heart.


This article was written by Luis Moreno and originally published in 2016. It has been updated for relevancy. 

good for the heart

5 Key traits of great leaders that are good for the heart

To be a great leader, you need to be good for the heart. Being a great leader requires many skills and traits that fall into various categories including; intellectual knowledge, education, preparation, experience, vision and determination. Their people skills shine when they project authenticity, care to be good listeners and foster transparency in the workplace.

good for the heart

Another important leadership trait is to be good for the heart. The well-being of all within a company is key to the success of the leader, the organization and the employees themselves. Being good for the heart means that the vision, plans, actions and requests engender positive feelings in people, which in turn results in healthy lives.

Leaders who achieve their objectives by causing fear, stress, nervousness, anxiety or depression in others can lead to negative results in the long run. Though the short, mid and long-term goals may be achieved, the effects on company employees can degrade overall morale, motivation and health.

A good test for measuring the heart of a leader is to consider how the recipient of an invitation to a meeting by the leader is received. Does the recipient feel enthusiastic or stressed? An invitation from a leader that generates a positive response is the type of leader who is good for the heart.

Here are 5 characteristics of leaders that are good for the heart.

  1. They care about people

Great leaders tend to be very strategic and have big ideas. Such intellectual power is very advantageous for the company, especially when the leader also cares about the people who are going to be executing the ideas and who can also be impacted by the very ideas the leader has initiated.

Caring about people includes knowing who is in the organization, paying attention to where they are, what they do, what their names are and knowing something personal about as many people as possible in the organization.

Great leaders also converse with people in their organization and not only when and if something has gone wrong. Great leaders exhibit genuine concern for the people in their organizations and recognize the work they are doing by greeting, smiling, shaking hands and asking questions about how they and their families are doing — which is very good for the heart.

More importantly, via management meetings, they can also be kept abreast of their employees’ advancements, assuring that everyone has the tools and support to succeed. A smile and a friendly comment, whenever possible, also goes a long way.

2. They are inclusive

When employees feel they belong, have value and are part of something big, it also adds to their sense of well-being. As regards meetings, not everyone can be included in every company meeting and most employees appreciate being included when they are most needed. For those not participating in meetings, they can still feel they are part of what is happening by being informed of news relevant to their specific role in the company.

Being aware of everyone, acknowledging them and keeping them in the loop regarding the overall health of the company is a way to be inclusive and that makes employees feel invited, which is good for their sense of belonging, their happiness and their heart.good for the heart

3. They are reasonable in their expectations

Some leaders move up through the organization because they accomplish company goals by utilizing an aggressive style — achieving unprecedented growth in very short periods of time. On the other hand, when resources are limited and employees are asked to work excessive hours, even weekends in order to achieve impressive results, the long term consequences can lead to low morale, low employee satisfaction, low levels of loyalty and low retention.

These conditions are not sustainable when looking to recruit top talent in a good economy. Most companies will experience healthy retention rates when the working environment is reasonable and does not interfere with employees’ health.

This can be even more true with newer generations such as Gen Xers and Millennials, for whom work-life balance plays a big role when choosing where to work.

4. They are trustworthy

Leaders who are not honest and transparent and whose actions lead to mistrust and doubt are not good for the heart. Second guessing a leader’s particular response to a situation can create nervousness and the potential to affect employees negatively.

New team members may ask themselves, “Will he cancel the meeting tomorrow after all the work we’ve done? Will she increase our already unrealistic sales goal again?” Employees feel better when they have a general idea how their leadership will respond in most instances.

This is not to say leaders should be overly predictable, flat and lack innovation. Developing and acting by an overall set of values give employees a base for how leadership will likely behave in most circumstances. An employee who knows the company’s leadership style might respond to his or her fellow team members with reassuring words like, “I’m not worried. I know he won’t surprise us with an unrealistic demand. In the ten years I’ve worked here, he has always given us a heads up on upcoming critical deadlines”.

Honesty and  transparency reduce the feelings of anxiety and fear caused by the unpredictability of a leader. Leaders who are honest, authentic and somewhat predictable in most situations are good for the heart.

empathy in the workplace

5. They are understanding

Although leaders strive for success, the reality is that mistakes happen. Great leaders assess situations holistically and evaluate the scope of mistakes, the impact, risk and actions that may have led to it as well as the potential solutions going forward.

Great leaders don’t focus on who to blame or eliminate, rather, they look for learning or development opportunities. Some of the most successful leaders have experienced failure multiple times. Strong leaders mean well and assume positive intent.

They work under the assumption that the organization has capable talent with good intentions and when something doesn’t go well, it’s not the end of the world. Good leaders are able to identify what didn’t go well, why, and what mechanisms or rules can be put in place to prevent future mishaps.

Most importantly, leaders connect with the teams involved and whenever possible offer the necessary understanding, support and future guidance — assuming the mistake was unintended and didn’t produce potential liabilities for the company. Offering teams who have made an honest mistake a second chance is good for the heart.

Caring for the people who work in your organizations and who help you achieve your goals is the right thing to do. Caring for their well-being and emotional health is key to growing an organization capable of achieving amazing results.

Great leaders play a big role in making sure their people are motivated, happy, healthy and that they show up to work every day, not because they have to, but because they want to.

A good leader who consistently reaches out to employees and expresses care, inclusivity, reasonableness, trustworthiness and understanding will keep employees engaged, and that is good for everyone’s heart.

If you want to reach Luis Moreno, please comment on the form below:

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3 Common mistakes companies make in understanding assimilation in the workplace

As companies continue to introduce policies to increase organizational effectiveness, understanding how assimilation in the workplace can help or hinder an employee’s success is crucial.

assimilation in the workplace

Understanding assimilation in the workplace can help or hinder employees’ success

Assimilation in the workplace generally refers to the process by which employees are familiarized with a company’s protocols, methods, operations, job-specific duties, as well as company-specific terminology if applicable, to name a few. Assimilation programs begin with employee onboarding and orientation and continue to evolve over time.

The value of being unique while practicing assimilation in the workplace

Given the need to increase innovation and solve problems in a global market with diverse customers, more and more companies are hiring employees from different sectors, ages, ethnicities, geographies, cultures, and backgrounds – perhaps part of the reason you were more attractive to the organization you are now a part of. The company may have been looking to add the very characteristics and attributes you embody – to their overall organization. As a person with unique strengths, you present a great opportunity to increase understanding and effectiveness when serving customers from the sectors you have experience in.

assimilation in the workplace

The value of being unique

Adapting consciously to assimilation protocols

Cultivating a company culture helps the organization move at a certain and desired speed, with a system and a language that allow employees to communicate and operate mutually. Some adjustments new hires may need to adopt can include anything from a uniform style of dress (mainly in the service sector, and common in the corporate sector) to the way in which they engage with customers or clients. Protocols for how ideas are presented, along with particular leadership styles may also be in place. In this type of assimilation, employees who have been properly introduced to the company’s culture consciously adapt to the environment they want to be successful in.

Assimilation, however, needs to be balanced and reasonable. The optimal level of assimilation in the workplace produces the maximum level of authenticity and personal comfort – after all you are happiest when you are yourself. Organizations and employees benefit from having a culture everyone can embrace and which presents each person the tools to navigate within the company to get things done. 

  1. “Daddy, why are you acting like that?”

When employees feel they are living some kind of a double life, one at work and one at home, then the assimilation may have gone too far. If an African American team member brings his young child to work and the child witnesses his father acting differently than he does at home, the child, in a confused state may ask, “Daddy, why are you acting like that?”

When a relative can no longer recognize the person he or she knows well, because that person feels the pressure to be someone different in the workplace, then it means the employee has passed the optimal level of assimilation. This continuous going back and forth from one type of behavior to another takes a lot of energy and could even diminish the employee’s true identity.

The admiration minority leaders enjoy within their organizations and from the communities they serve is part and parcel because they identify with the people they serve. There is value in relating to a leader who is genuine and representative of a particular group.

If a Latino is promoted to the top of an organization but his or her assimilation level is so high that he or she does not really exhibit any of the characteristics that are common to Latinos, then that leader may be effective for a mainstream audience but potentially ineffective with other Latino employees, customers, or suppliers, especially if they no longer perceive him or her as authentic.

  1. Companies whose employees look different but act and think the same

    assimilation in the workplace

    They look different but act the same.

Organizations that feel proud of all the skin colors visible in their offices or included in a company recruiting brochure, yet conversely when addressing solutions to a problem, that same diverse pool of talent thinks similarly and the ideas are generally safe, common, or easily agreed to by everyone, then the employees may have gone too far in their assimilation. The outcome may not be as valuable, nor the solutions as innovative as expected. Nor may the final decisions be equitable for all communities.

  1. Diverse employees and leaders that don’t bring their whole selves to work

A good source of happiness comes from being authentic and honoring your true self.

Some ethnic executive leaders may lose admiration and respect from members of their own community when they show excessive assimilation that disconnects them from their roots.

If a woman believes that to be successful in an organization, she needs to assimilate by acting more like a man, then the unique advantages she brings to the company can’t be leveraged. If she finds herself being coached to replicate the particular style of her male peers, mentors, bosses, leaders, customers, and vendors, and the message is clearly to behave less like a woman and more like a man, the daily toll on her will be enormous. Eventually she may leave to join another company who values her fully. 

Achieve an optimal level of assimilation in the workplace

When talent is hired from outside the traditional core population, employers need to be reasonable regarding the amount and speed of assimilation expected of their new hire, or they run the risk of losing the very authenticity they seek. So keep in mind to:

  • Make conscious adjustments and changes that allow you to be more effective.
  • Do not compromise your personal values in the process.
  • Stay connected to your true self.

The purpose of cultivating a company culture via assimilation programs is to offer you the best environment in which to succeed, and not to squelch your personal individuality. Cultivate strong relationships with your peers, build trust with your supervisors, keep your career goals firmly in focus, and take advantage of all the growth opportunities offered you. If you feel added pressure to behave radically different, reach out to a certified career coach for advice and counsel. In today’s business environment, companies would rather not lose their best and brightest.

Luis Moreno Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Latino talent

5 Ways to leverage Latino talent in your organization to its full potential

Luis Moreno contributor Latino talent

Luis Moreno, VP of Marketing for Synchrony Financial and co-founder of The Twin Cities Business Peer Network

I’m so proud to introduce you to Luis Moreno, our newest contributor to LatinasinBusiness.us! Luis brings impeccable credentials as a Latino talent thought leader in the Financial and Business communities.

The VP of Marketing for Synchrony Financial, Luis is also the co-founder of The Twin Cities Business Peer Network, a 1,700-member organization that helps students and peers grow personally and professionally.

He was awarded NSHMBA MSP’s “Member of the Year” and has been named “Top National Champion of Diversity” by DiversityBusiness Magazine and “Top 100 Under 50 Executives and Emerging Leaders” by Diversity MBA Magazine.

Luis holds an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, is a Public Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and is a member of the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School. We are honored and grateful to have Luis on board!

Got Latino talent in your organization?

Among many other positive characteristics, Latinos are optimistic, enthusiastic, adaptable, and they grow up in highly relationship-based and collective environments. The culture is built around people and loyalty. Interpersonal skills play a big role in our culture. All of these characteristics and skills can be leveraged in any organization to improve results.

Luis Moreno Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Latino talent

L to R: Luis Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Gavin Hart, Ruth Elfering, Tomás Perez. Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Launch at Target Fields on February 10th, 2016. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

  1. Latino talent and retention

Latinos can be very loyal if they feel valued in an organization so they can help your retention rate if they are working under favorable conditions and being acknowledged and valued.

They make great employees and team members as they take great pride in the work they do and place high value in earning the respect and appreciation of others. These tendencies will usually be a strong motivation for a Latino employee to want to go the extra mile at work.

2. Latino talent in management roles

As managers and supervisors, Latinos have a general tendency to be in-tune with people matters, given the high weight that the Latino culture places on people.

So, Latino managers and leaders will pay special attention to how employees are feeling, whether they are being acknowledged and recognized. They will also be in tune with employees in their team, and make sure they have the opportunity for flexibility to achieve work-life balance and be there for their families, the most important aspect for Latinos.

Christian Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Luis Moreno. Cross-Cultural Marketing event by the Twin Cities Business Peer Network on July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno. Latino talent

L to R: Christian Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Luis Moreno. Cross-Cultural Marketing event by the Twin Cities Business Peer Network on July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

3. The female Latino talent

Organizations that promote the development and growth of female leaders can find in Latinas great talent and potential. Latinas grow up in highly social environments, which help them develop strong social and communication skills.

Latinas are determined, considerate, and caring, as they play a strong role in the Latino family, home, and community, values that they leverage professionally in the organization.

So, not only having Latinas among the leaders of the organization will help with the organization’s goals and results, but it can also help improve moral, motivation, well-being, and the work-life style balance for employees in the organization.

4. Latino talent in conflict management

When it comes to managing conflict and resolving issues, because of Latino’s natural tendency to build strong personal relationships, such relationships can help in establishing and effectively managing any necessary communication to resolve concerns.

Since Latinos, in general, have a tendency to be cheerful and optimistic, they can help the organization when it comes to having to communicate bad news, because they will try to find an angle of the story to communicate optimism and hope, which can at least help members get and assimilate the unfortunate news more easily.

  1. Latino talent and partner relationship management

Latinos can also help with the organization’s relationship with partners. Leverage Latinos in your organization to help build relationships and trust faster with customers, vendors, and partners, as Latinos have a passion for people.

Go through your list of external partners and see if you have any customers, vendors, or partners from or with operations in Latin America. That can make those relationship-building even easier and faster, as often people tend to feel comfortable doing business and managing matters with people with whom they can more easily relate to, identify with, and with whom they can share some commonalities, such as culture, language, and experiences.

Latino Talent NSHMBAs

L to R: Luis Moreno, Yrma Cova, Dylan Moreno, Tomás Perez. National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Annual Gala on December 4th, 2015. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

Find the organizations that represent them

So, make sure you are leveraging the Latino talent in your organization to its full potential. You can have a treasure right there in your own team ready to be discovered! You can get valuable and useful information about Latinos, their contributions over time, and their benefits in the work place, through many great organizations in various fields which have been building a strong knowledge base and expertise and are happy to help you.

  • The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), recently rebranded as “Prospanica”. This fantastic organization has been in existence for 28 years, since its foundation in 1988. It has been working on increasing the number of Latinos graduating with MBA’s for over two decades. In 2015, NSHMBA extended its reach beyond the MBA community to undergraduate and high school-level students. They empower Latino professionals to achieve their full educational, economic and social potential. I am very proud to have been an active member for over 15 years.
  • In the STEM field, there is the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), founded in 1974 by a group of engineers employed by the city of Los Angeles. They have built a really strong national organization of professional engineers, which serve as role models in our Latino community. SHPE has a strong network of professional and student chapters throughout the country and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to partner with multiple of its members for great initiatives to support Latino Engineering students and professionals.
  • National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which was started in 1968 and whose great mission is to improve Latinos’ opportunities for success in achieving the American Dream. They provide research, policy analysis, and state and national advocacy efforts to serve millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.

Also, there are amazing organizations at the local level, which partner with national organizations and can be of great help. For example in the Midwest, there are really strong organizations supporting Latinos, such as Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), Neighborhood House, LatinoLEAD, and many others.

If you have interest in learning about more ways to leverage the Latino talent in your organization and would like some ideas, perspectives, and suggestions, feel free to contact any of these organizations or let me know. I will be more than happy to share some perspectives, insights, and ideas with you. We welcome your comments!

 

Luis Moreno

Luis Moreno new contributor to LatinasinBusiness.us

Luis Moreno contributor Latino talent

Luis Moreno, VP of Marketing for Synchrony Financial and co-founder of The Twin Cities Business Peer Network

I’m so proud to introduce you to Luis Moreno, our newest contributor to LatinasinBusiness.us! Luis brings impeccable credentials as a Latino talent thought leader in the Financial and Business communities.

The VP of Marketing for Synchrony Financial, Luis is also the co-founder of The Twin Cities Business Peer Network, a 1,700-member organization that helps students and peers grow personally and professionally.

He was awarded NSHMBA MSP’s “Member of the Year” and has been named “Top National Champion of Diversity” by DiversityBusiness Magazine and “Top 100 Under 50 Executives and Emerging Leaders” by Diversity MBA Magazine.

Luis holds an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, is a Public Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and is a member of the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School. We are honored and grateful to have Luis on board!

Got Latino talent in your organization?

Among many other positive characteristics, Latinos are optimistic, enthusiastic, adaptable, and they grow up in highly relationship-based and collective environments. The culture is built around people and loyalty. Interpersonal skills play a big role in our culture. All of these characteristics and skills can be leveraged in any organization to improve results.

Luis Moreno Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Latino talent

L to R: Luis Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Gavin Hart, Ruth Elfering, Tomás Perez. Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Launch at Target Fields on February 10th, 2016. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

  1. Latino talent and retention

Latinos can be very loyal if they feel valued in an organization so they can help your retention rate if they are working under favorable conditions and being acknowledged and valued.

They make great employees and team members as they take great pride in the work they do and place high value in earning the respect and appreciation of others. These tendencies will usually be a strong motivation for a Latino employee to want to go the extra mile at work.

2. Latino talent in management roles

As managers and supervisors, Latinos have a general tendency to be in-tune with people matters, given the high weight that the Latino culture places on people.

So, Latino managers and leaders will pay special attention to how employees are feeling, whether they are being acknowledged and recognized. They will also be in tune with employees on their team, and make sure they have the opportunity for flexibility to achieve work-life balance and be there for their families, the most important aspect for Latinos.

Christian Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Luis Moreno. Cross-Cultural Marketing event by the Twin Cities Business Peer Network on July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno. Latino talent

L to R: Christian Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Luis Moreno. Cross-Cultural Marketing event by the Twin Cities Business Peer Network on July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

3. The female Latino talent

Organizations that promote the development and growth of female leaders can find in Latinas great talent and potential. Latinas grow up in highly social environments, which help them develop strong social and communication skills.

Latinas are determined, considerate, and caring, as they play a strong role in the Latino family, home, and community, values that they leverage professionally in the organization.

So, not only having Latinas among the leaders of the organization will help with the organization’s goals and results, but it can also help improve morale, motivation, well-being, and the work-life style balance for employees in the organization.

4. Latino talent in conflict management

When it comes to managing conflict and resolving issues, because of Latino’s natural tendency to build strong personal relationships, such relationships can help in establishing and effectively managing any necessary communication to resolve concerns.

Since Latinos, in general, have a tendency to be cheerful and optimistic, they can help the organization when it comes to having to communicate bad news, because they will try to find an angle of the story to communicate optimism and hope, which can at least help members get and assimilate the unfortunate news more easily.

  1. Latino talent and partner relationship management

Latinos can also help with the organization’s relationship with partners. Leverage Latinos in your organization to help build relationships and trust faster with customers, vendors, and partners, as Latinos have a passion for people.

Go through your list of external partners and see if you have any customers, vendors, or partners from or with operations in Latin America. That can make those relationship-building even easier and faster, as often people tend to feel comfortable doing business and managing matters with people with whom they can more easily relate to, identify with, and with whom they can share some commonalities, such as culture, language, and experiences.

Latino Talent NSHMBAs

L to R: Luis Moreno, Yrma Cova, Dylan Moreno, Tomás Perez. National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Annual Gala on December 4th, 2015. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

Find the organizations that represent them

So, make sure you are leveraging the Latino talent in your organization to its full potential. You can have a treasure right there in your own team ready to be discovered! You can get valuable and useful information about Latinos, their contributions over time, and their benefits in the work place, through many great organizations in various fields which have been building a strong knowledge base and expertise and are happy to help you.

  • The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), recently rebranded as “Prospanica”. This fantastic organization has been in existence for 28 years, since its foundation in 1988. It has been working on increasing the number of Latinos graduating with MBA’s for over two decades. In 2015, NSHMBA extended its reach beyond the MBA community to undergraduate and high school-level students. They empower Latino professionals to achieve their full educational, economic and social potential. I am very proud to have been an active member for over 15 years.
  • In the STEM field, there is the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), founded in 1974 by a group of engineers employed by the city of Los Angeles. They have built a really strong national organization of professional engineers, which serve as role models in our Latino community. SHPE has a strong network of professional and student chapters throughout the country and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to partner with multiple of its members for great initiatives to support Latino Engineering students and professionals.
  • National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which was started in 1968 and whose great mission is to improve Latinos’ opportunities for success in achieving the American Dream. They provide research, policy analysis, and state and national advocacy efforts to serve millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.

Also, there are amazing organizations at the local level, which partner with national organizations and can be of great help. For example in the Midwest, there are really strong organizations supporting Latinos, such as Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), Neighborhood House, LatinoLEAD, and many others.

If you have interest in learning about more ways to leverage the Latino talent in your organization and would like some ideas, perspectives, and suggestions, feel free to contact any of these organizations or let me know. I will be more than happy to share some perspectives, insights, and ideas with you. We welcome your comments!