The importance of empathy at work
Updated: Nov 28, 2022
Author: Michaela Resch
Date of Publication: 12/11/2022
Why should you be empathic?
Empathy is a very important thing in your personal life but also at work. This is because you can recognize the emotions of your fellow humans, colleagues and employees. Furthermore, you know how they are doing and if they have any struggles in life you should know about. In addition, if you're emphatic, you are able to improve the mood of someone and maybe solve their problems. Therefore, it helps to bring trust and to strengthen your relationship.
How to be empathic:
A. Pay attention
What does the mimic and gesture, verbal and nonverbal signs of someone say? Does the person behave differently than usual? Does he or she talk less than usual? Is there sadness or anger hiding between the sentences? Listen exactly to what the person says to you and other people and if they repeat particular sentences. Maybe the following model can help you to figure out how the person feels when they say something:
The 4 ear model of Schulz von Thun says:
1st ear: to understand the factual content (facts)
2nd ear: to decipher the self-disclosure of the other person (mood, motives)
3rd ear: to grasp the relationship message (what does the other person think of me?)
4th ear: to recognize appeals (what does the other person expect from me?)
B. Take a different Perspective
What is the person's current life situation? Maybe they are going through tough times in private and/or professional barriers in life. Put yourself in the other person's situation and try to understand them. Set your own point of view aside and let yourself be guided by that of the person you are talking to.
C. Support your People
It's important to demonstrate individual compassionate empathy for the right person in the right situation. Talk with them and suggest different options of help. In fact, they can decide what's best for them and what benefits the most in the current situation. For example, if a team member has a family problem you could propose taking a longer home office period or flexible work times.
Sometimes the easiest way to get people to open up to you is to give them a little smile. It immediately makes you more empathetic and sympathetic. Therefore, it’s highly likely the person will open up to you and confide in you.