Cultivating Empathy In the Workplace


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Empathy is the natural human ability to feel what others feel.

This trait allows us to connect, be compassionate and understand others personally and professionally.

 Empathy is vital in an organization because it makes a workplace fruitful.

After all, employees are honest, transparent, and human.

  Empathy is divided into three as discussed below;

Cognitive Empathy

It refers to taking perspective where one knows or understands how the other person feels and what they might be thinking.

It is more about putting yourself in their shoes,  Knowing when they are nervous, depressed, sad, and so on.

Emotional Empathy

After you have understood what your colleague is going through,  put yourself in their space emotionally.

An instance is when you see someone pressed with a door hinge. You wince because you feel their pain.

Compassionate Empathy

You now balance between cognitive and emotional empathy without being overwhelmed by feelings.

How is empathy then cultivated in the workplace?

Lend a listening ear

Pay attention to what the other person is saying keenly.

You can be able to understand the entire message communicated beyond their words.

Note the emotional state, body language, or the phrases being used repeatedly by the person speaking or answering a question to get an idea of what they are going through at the moment.

You can involve yourself deeply in their situation and work towards mitigating it and finding practical solutions.

Understand their perspective

When listening to the other person, keep your assumptions and beliefs to yourself and make room for their feelings while keeping an open and flexible mind.

If you resonate with their pain, you can also open up by sharing your similar experiences.

It will create a safe space for honest conversations because they will be comfortable sharing their story.

It is not the time to debate about how someone acted the way they have done or why they did things the way they did in the workplace but give a listening ear, respect what they say, and forge towards resolving the issue.

Check signs of Burnout

With the Covid 19 pandemic and all that is happening globally, people are stressed, depressed, and finding it hard to balance life at home and work.

 Therefore, employee disengagement is likely to be an issue.

Look for signs of stress in your employees by checking on them weekly or biweekly and find out how they are holding up and handling their workload.

Support your employee’s aspirations and needs.

During discussions, everyone’s voice should count.¬†

Everyone should be heard.

This should include the introverts as a way of supporting your team members as an empathetic leader.

It increases productivity because your employees feel motivated and dedicated to their work.

Begin from the top

The culture of empathy will only flow to the bottom of the pyramid in the organization when the top management empathizes with their subordinates.

One tends to do things as instructed if the instructor does the same.

Coworkers are stuck together by leaders connected to them and tend to be generous even if they are not visible among colleagues.

Be authentic and honest

 leaders need to practice sharing their own experiences and stories with the barriers created by the remote working arrangements.

It allows employees to be more open and honest with their own experiences, like admitting to making mistakes and see leaders as human and relatable.

In conclusion,  a growth track towards the company’s goals is achieved when everyone in the organization collaborates,  making the work environment more effective and productive with compassionate people that support each other.

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