Yes your perspective might change once you know that you had a similar experience to your employee, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you understand them. As a leader, you have to find a way to relate to your people without having your own experiences get in the way. The thing is, we don’t all go through experiences the same way. We have different reactions, perspectives, emotions and personalities. When you assume that you understand a person because you went through something similar, you’re judgment is clouded. Don’t expect people to react the same way you did and then judge them for doing something different. In general, people just listen to the facts and issues being described. As a leader, you shouldn’t fail to listen at deeper levels for what’s really going on; how the person is affected by the situation, what are the consequences and emotional impacts on this person? How much angst is this causing him/her? Will they be able to work with a group without projecting negatively on them? These are all things you should be on the lookout for as a leader, even when they’re not being shared outloud.