Empathy in the Workplace

Jamil Zaki states…”empathy is like a skill. It’s like a muscle. We can practice it like any other skill and get better at connecting with people.” Huge thanks to VA Daily Dose for this share.

Over 80% of employees want more empathy and would feel more loyalty and engagement in a more empathetic environment. Empathy creates a more psychologically safe environment.

Army Field Manual on Leader Development insists repeatedly that empathy is essential for competent leadership. Why?  Empathy enables you to know if the people you’re trying to reach are actually reached.  It allows you to predict the effect your decisions and actions will have on core audiences and strategize accordingly.  Without empathy, you can’t build an effective team or nurture a new generation of leaders.  You will not inspire followers or elicit loyalty. Empathy is defined as the ability to share and understand someone else’s feelings. The capacity for empathy is an important attribute for leaders to possess. Empathy can allow leaders to understand how their actions will make others feel and react.

Do you show empathy? Do you consider the situations of others relating to their challenges? Remember that sustainable empathy means that we feel for people, not feel as they do.  Burnout in providers and caregivers often comes from taking on the emotions of others and not refueling with self-care.

One clear way of strengthening our sense of empathy is by just practicing on a regular basis, taking the perspective of others. A great video on applying empathy at work can be found here. See a few outlined steps from the video below. One of my all-time favorite videos on empathy is by Brene Brown; enjoy it here and start building that muscle!

How to Become More Empathy at Work:
1.  Identify if the situation is a trigger for you.
2.  Ask more questions.
3.  Use active listening.
4.  Put aside your own viewpoint.
*Recognize and accept your own emotional step; step back and allow for a clearer mind to better see the other’s point of view.

 

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