In the modern-day corporate culture, along with every other skill that gets the job done, you must be compassionate and empathetic. While showing compassion in the workplace is crucial for any leader, practicing empathy can help resolve conflicts, improve relationships, and build better teams. Compassion and empathy have become an even greater part of most organizations since the beginning of the pandemic. Managers and team leaders have been using an empathetic approach to Generate higher productivity and engagement during the work-from-home phase. According to the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, “Without empathy, it is impossible to get the best from your team, so for this reason, it is the key to everything.”
Let us look at a few simple methods that can help you practice empathy in the workplace.
Consider Different Perspectives
If you want to improve your workplace empathy, you must be willing to adopt different perspectives. If you stick to your perspective, it could create a block between you and others. Try to build a connection and open your mind if you want to accept others’ perspectives. You must also respect others’ views and opinions to develop empathy from within.
Get Into Someone Else’s Shoes
One of the most common ways, so empathy at work is by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Once you eliminate the gap between others and yourself, you will understand their behavior, emotions, and feelings. While you may never experience what the other person is going through, you can easily empathize and develop a connection with them. Make sure you remain polite and extend a helping hand when stepping into someone else’s shoes. This will save you from sounding awkward or appearing artificial.
Ask Proactive Questions
You also need to be proactive when questioning if someone is expressing their feelings and opinions to you. To understand someone’s emotions accurately, we need to ask questions. Most people either fear expressing themselves or are hesitant to speak their hearts out. Therefore, we must make it a habit to ask them sensible questions. This will make you empathetic, and the answers you receive may also help you find a solution for them.
Let Others Speak
Another essential quality of empathetic people is that they allow others to speak. You may be tempted to interrupt someone while they are talking out of impulsiveness or curiosity. But that can distract the person and distance them from you. If someone is describing their pain and you interrupt them, they may never return to that topic again. Interrupting someone often leaves that person with a better experience and a negative impression of you. Therefore, if you wish to exhibit empathy, allow others to speak.
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Traveling to new places and meeting new people can also create empathy. Meeting new people, visiting new places, and exploring different cultures are helpful factors for developing empathy. Since you are among new people, you need to be polite and kind to understand their thoughts and feelings. Hence it can make you more empathetic towards other people as well.
Have Deep Conversations
To show compassion at work, you must have deep and meaningful conversations with your coworkers. Such deep conversations can occur naturally with people we connect with or are compatible with. Eventually, you will find a closer bond with such people and become naturally empathetic to their cause. While you can pretend empathy to save your relationship, there is no substitute for genuine empathy.
Give Practical Advice
If you are going to practice empathy, it would be better if you give practical advice. Instead of talking about their past, talk about their present. You must also avoid pointing out their mistakes, making them feel helpless. You also need to be respectful and explain your answers while advising someone if you will practice compassion in the workplace.
To be perceived as compassionate, you must be approachable. You must find out whether other people are willing to open up to you. If people think you will listen to their problems and understand their feelings and opinions, you are approachable. You can also help them through nonverbal signs or words of help, or even gestures. This will not only increase your approachability but also make them trust you.
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Pay Attention While Talking
While there are several ways to show empathy at work, most people do not pay attention when the other person is talking. Often, we find ourselves engrossed in our phones or managing other tasks while talking to others. This can hurt the other person’s feelings. You may also come across as someone who is not attentive to their concerns. On the other hand, if you put all other work on hold while talking to someone, it exhibits compassion. You can also pick another date when you do not have any other work. But make sure to pay attention whenever you are listening to their problems.
While there are multiple ways to show empathy in the workplace, you must understand that it will not happen overnight. Just like every other soft skill, empathy requires time and energy and must be an ongoing process. You also need to be mindful of your behavior and consider real-world scenarios. However, if your employees and coworkers perceive you as compassionate and empathetic, you will become even more effective as a leader.
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