Sunday VIEWS: Ethos and pathos

Sunday July 5 2020

Azim Jamal

Azim Jamal 

By Azim Jamal

Research confirms that what keeps the employees loyal is meaningful work, camaraderie, community feeling and pursuing their calling instead of just their paycheque.

Employees seek engagement, empowerment and great leadership, which are based on trust and an enabling and uplifting environment.

Trust or a spiritual quotient (ethos) is the foundation of relationships. Without ethos, not much gets done. Do you trust yourself? Do you trust others? Do others trust you? Have you earned the trust of self and others? At any given point in time you will have many things on your “plate,” but probably none are as important as building trust.

When you have ethos, the inherent trust and credibility of your employees, you have a better chance of attracting and retaining good talent.

Without trust, you cannot get far in relationship building. Without it, everything you do and say will have no basis. All your efforts will be in vain because you have not built credibility by being trustworthy. When you live in harmony with your close ones, you create positive energy, avoid unnecessary quarrels and save a lot of time. Just as you have to plant, cultivate, water and weed before you can enjoy a harvest, trust is required to nurture good relationships.

Next comes pathos or emotional quotient, which includes spending time understanding the other person through empathy and compassion. This comes about by respecting people the way they are, not the way you want them to be. Difference is not a weakness; it can be a great strength. If you are open to it, difference creates synergy, growth and learning. Once you begin to show respect to others and develop a deep understanding through emphatic listening, you begin to be in pathos.


Then comes logic—this is the IQ or logos phase. Many people begin here and do not get further because trust or a spiritual quotient (ethos) and emotional quotient (pathos) are both missing. Everyone wants to share our logic and wisdom, but the wise invest time in building trust and relationships before sharing logic.

Building relationships takes time and energy. It requires giving of oneself. It is an investment that you make to build a strong foundation.

One of our clients had an issue with one of his out-of-town managers who was threatening to leave and start his own business. Our client was furious because he felt he had gone out of his way to help the manager climb the ladder and train him. This was not fair.

Our client was ready to hit the roof, however, we told him to take a different approach. We asked him to be completely open and listen to the reason the manager was considering leaving.

Our client was a little perplexed at our approach but said he would try it. When our client met the manager, the manager explained that he wanted to work flexible hours and earn more money, and he wanted more autonomy and decision-making authority.

Our client told the manager that he was willing to offer him what he wanted: flexible hours, autonomy and higher pay tied to performance. He was able to persuade the manager to continue working for him on a mutually beneficial basis. They are together and have a much better results-oriented agreement that has led to better outcome for both parties.

Giving and taking for mutual benefit works. However it starts with Ethos and Pathos!.