Those who have never been sexually assaulted or couldn’t imagine what that might be like are now hearing in painstaking detail what it is like to experience it and to live with its consequences. Ford told the senators about the panic attacks, anxiety, and claustrophobia that caused her to seek therapy, years before Kavanaugh would be named as US president Donald Trump’s pick for the highest court in the land.

Managers everywhere should be cognizant that the content of the hearing will be triggering to some employees, particularly those who have survived sexual assault, but also those who are thinking of a friend or family member as they listen to a story that may sound familiar. It would be a good day to remind staff about any resources available to them for mental health assistance and their options for taking time off.

But workplace leaders should also be aware that unlike the Olympics, or the World Cup, or other events that tend to steal employees’ attention, this hearing is a rare opportunity for one woman’s important story to be heard, and her voice represents many. Regardless of how the confirmation proceedings turn out for Kavanaugh, everyone’s ability to empathize with their fellow human beings should be enriched by this experience, and empathy is a critical skill for all members of a workforce—and for leaders who want to act with emotional intelligence, it’s essential.

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