[aa_subtitle_display]“Empathy” refers to the ability to relate to the experiences, feelings, and thoughts of others. Being able to be empathetic is an important part of life, but typically that method is seen to be vital in personal aspects of your world rather than in the workplace.
However, in this day in age, it has become increasingly important to practice empathy in the workplace. This is because showing your colleagues and direct reports that you possess the ability to have empathy towards them can be incredibly meaningful and further promotes workplace satisfaction and meaningful relationships within your office environment.
Keep reading as we explore what empathy is and why it matters at work.
What is empathy and how do we show it?
As mentioned above, empathy is the ability to relate to the experiences, emotions, and thoughts of others – which goes further than sympathy, which means feeling compassion for a peer.
Empathy can best be described as forcing yourself to walk in someone else’s shoes and experience their emotions, feelings, opinions, and overall perspective from their point of view.
While it’s hard to pin down exactly what empathetic people do to show it and create the desired effect, there are a few things we know to be true.
The most empathetic people typically enjoy interacting with people, like to work with and help others, and value people as individuals. Empathetic people tend to have good and attentive listening skills, which means that they put full focus onto the person in front of them as they are speaking and are not easily or frequently distracted.
In order to understand the obstacles, triumphs, and failures of others, they tend to do more listening than talking. This helps to allow individuals to be heard and recognized.
All in all, managers that regularly practice empathy with their employees practice openness and understanding towards the feelings and emotions of their direct reports.
Why does empathy matter in the workplace?
You are probably asking yourself what makes empathy so important in the workplace. Well, there are several reasons for its significance. First, displaying empathy shows a great amount of respect for coworkers and demonstrates your care for them as a peer and manager.
This can prompt an increase in productivity, office morale, and company loyalty – all of which are good things for your team and organization as a whole. Overall, utilizing an empathetic leadership style can create a happier and more cohesive team and will make you a more respected and well-received executive.
Regularly practicing empathy as a group also can help businesses to better assess the potential internal challenges that may come up in the future.
This is because demonstrating this trait in meetings with direct reports helps managers to better understand the root causes behind mistakes and failures and thus will encourage employees to feel more secure in their downfalls rather than blamed for them.
From there, managers can successfully assist employees in improving their performance overall and lead them to a more successful career. This will lead to a more profitable and prosperous business – which is a major plus.
Now that you’ve learned about what empathy is, how to practice it, and why it’s important to your business, watch out for our upcoming article about how to instill it at your organization.