Empathy is the ability to live and relate to the emotions and experience of others. It’s more than mere sympathy. It’s the ability to understand and lend support to other people with sensitivity and compassion. Empathy is like stepping into a person’s shoes and being aware of their situation.
In the context of work, empathy means showing deep respect for your coworkers, showing that you care, as opposed to strictly doing what your job description requires you to do. An empathetic leader makes everyone feel valued in the team. This leads to increased employee morale and loyalty, translating to higher productivity and better retention. Empathy is a powerful trait among true leaders, and in the corporate sector, it earns respect from all employees.
A recent survey by Businessolver revealed that eight out of 10 employees, HR professionals, and CEOs agree that a culture of empathy is tied to improved business performance.
How do we bring more empathy into the workplace?
- Listen carefully when communicating with a coworker
- Understand what they feel, think, and their perception about life
- Support their conversation by letting them know that they are being heard
- Test their instinct, value their inputs, and ask for more to add
As you work on these skills, it’s important to recognize that it isn’t just enough to hear what’s being said. To build and maintain a healthy relationship and forge trust with your team, you need to show empathy, respect, and kindness. Responding with empathy not only demonstrates good listening skills, but also shows that you sincerely care.