Showing Empathy At Work
Empathy At Work
Empathy can be described as “the ability to understand the feelings and thoughts of another.”
It is not the same thing as sympathy, which can sometimes be confused with empathy. While both emotions are involved, sympathy refers to feeling “pity or sorrow” for another person’s misery.
Why empathy at work matters
Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s thoughts and feelings. Also known as compassion. Listening to and considering the concerns of your coworkers is a great way to show compassion. Empathy has a direct effect on employee productivity, loyalty and engagement.
Empathy in the workplace can bring tangible, meaningful returns. A company built for the long-term thrives by connecting with its coworkers.
These are the three types of empathy
Three components of empathy are cognitive empathy, affective empathy and the resulting action (also known as empathetic concern). These three components can be practiced in three steps.
Cognitive empathy: Think
This is the thinking, which is about perspective-taking. Recognising that others have different ways of looking at the world, we use our imaginations and curiosity to try to understand the point of view of the other person. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with them – just understand their point of view.
Affective empathy: Feel
This is the feeling part. This is important to foster relationships with colleagues and build connections. It is possible to block empathy by judging others. Empathy will be easier if you are open to other perspectives and can put aside your reactions and opinions.
Empathetic concern: Do
How can you act with empathy and concern when you have experienced the other person’s perspective? Empathy can be applied to all communication and exchanges with your boss, your peers and your team in person or virtually, wherever they may be and whatever medium you use.
You will be more aware and sensitive to these empathy steps and you will purposely deepen your relationship with the person and increase your ability to empathise.
Four Ways To Empathy Yourself And Improve Your Workplace
Inside and Outside
Your brain can be so busy that it is difficult to see the world around you at work. When things get too busy and you feel stressed, it is easy to forget your feelings and those of others. Many people agree with the old saying that “no one wishes they had spent more time at the office.” However, this doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t work too much. Why? Because it can be distracting to your true feelings about your family, friends, and your work.
Take a moment to breathe or walk around lunch every day. This will help you clear your mind. You can find your true thoughts and feelings by being quiet.
Fully Watch and Listen
Listening goes beyond just listening to words. It’s about understanding what they mean. Your ability to empathise and relate to others is enhanced by watching. Sometimes, body language is more telling than words.
Empathy in the workplace can be built by seeing your bosses, coworkers and direct reports. This will help you to understand their feelings. It is easier to work together when you are all in the same place. Alice looks like she is having a hard time. She walks around with a hunched back and keeps her distance, while Alice normally walks straight and greets everyone who passes. Mark is clearly on cloud nine. He’s literally gliding down the hall. Reading the body language will help you really listen to the situation.
Tone of voice is important. Speaking with your coworker instead of relying on email, text, and other messaging services to communicate can help build empathy. Because you know what your coworker thinks. You understand their feelings better and communicate in return better.
Communicate What Are You Feeling
Understanding your emotions is key to understanding the feelings of others. Conduct an emotional inventory at least once a day to assess how you feel. If you think about how you feel right after a big assignment, the answer is “excited” and you can then apply it to other people around you. For example: Alice just received the new project, which will consume her every waking hour for six months. It is likely that she feels overwhelmed by all the work. She might also be excited about the prospect of being promoted. If you know you will feel overwhelmed by a new task, you can guess that someone else may be feeling the same way. This emotional inventory can be helpful if you struggle to evaluate your feelings. You will become better at understanding yourself and the feelings of others as you gain more experience.
You may not feel the same emotions about the same issues, but it is important to take the time to act. This leads us to step 4.
This is step four, not one. It’s not a good idea to simply walk up to your boss and tell him/her, “Hey, I’m angry at my low salary.” This will not work.
While you should be careful about trusting your gut, it is important to get started to learn how it feels. You can think back to Alice’s earlier example where she was given a labor-intensive new project. After receiving a similar assignment, you have already looked at your emotions and found that you were both overwhelmed and excited. You’d should also see if Alice feels the same.
Why should you care about what he/she feels? Don’t worry if it’s only curiosity. If Alice is near you, have insight into her project, or are good friends with Alice , you can support her and chat to her about how she feels.
Summary For Empathy At Work
Empathy in the workplace can help you understand your coworkers better. This allows you to work better together. This is great news for any business. Learning how to recognise the aspects of empathy and then use them to increase communication and connections will advance your career and relationships within the workplace.