How to show empathy at work
Empathizing at work means having the ability to understand teammates’ point of view and emotions. This ability can be very important in the corporate environment, especially in times of crisis, stress and difficulties. In this article we will let you know how to show empathy at work?
Having a healthy work environment and a welcoming organizational climate is essential to obtain better results , increase team productivity and reduce day-to-day stress . One of the ways to achieve this is with empathy at work .
Many managers have already realized this and are finding ways to develop this skill among the employees of their teams.
What is empathy at work?
Empathy can be defined as the ability to emotionally understand another person , to be able to put yourself in the other’s shoes and perceive all the nuances of a situation without losing the notion that the experience is lived by the other.
Having empathy at work means being able to understand the point of view and emotions of teammates. This ability can be very important in the corporate environment , especially in times of crisis, stress and difficulties.
Empathy at work is considered a soft skill (socio-emotional skills), being, therefore, a fundamental behavioral skill to improve interaction and work relationships and one of the most desired in the corporate environment .
When empathy is incorporated into the organizational culture, it provides important impacts on internal communication and productivity, in addition to considerably improving the level of team engagement .
What are soft skills?
The socio-emotional skills are characteristics and skills related to personal development of the individual, which help maintain healthy relationships with others and with ourselves.
They are the basis for building relationships between different social groups and contribute to overcoming everyday challenges.
Empathy is in the group of skills related to the individual’s attitudes and character , which are those that make us realize that our actions affect the lives of other people and the world around us.
Other skills in this group are resilience , critical thinking , creativity , assertive communication , initiative and autonomy , responsibility , leadership and adaptability .
Ways to show empathy at work
Now that you know what empathy is at work, you might be thinking about how it works in practice, in your everyday life, and what you can do to apply it to your routine. So see below.
Consider other points of view
You are not empathetic with another person if you believe only your point of view is right.
Often situations don’t have just one way to deal with . There are often variables that you are not aware of that influence attitudes and thoughts.
To demonstrate empathy, you need to understand the other person’s point of view. By doing this, you can put yourself in her shoes and understand her. Depending on the case, it can even suggest ways to help her, if you want.
Understand the perspective of the other
People act in certain ways because they believe they are doing what is best for themselves or for situations. It is important to recognize this this .
But remember that acknowledgment does not mean agreement . You can simply accept that the other person has a different opinion from you and that he has reason to think so.
What matters is coming to terms with the other and knowing that different points of view can reach the same goal.
Open up to building relationships
People concerned about always being right and always winning are unlikely to be open to empathy. For this, the focus must be on finding solutions, accepting different opinions and building relationships.
Be open to relating to that friend who doesn’t think exactly the same as you do. Participate in conversations, let yourself get closer to always try to understand the context in which the other is inserted.
Benefits of empathy at work
If empathy is important for the work environment and the quality of life of professionals, does the company also benefit from this practice?
For sure! There are at least 4 benefits of empathy at work for organizations.
Decreases the level of stress and conflicts
Nobody likes to live or work in a stressful place with constant fights and conflicts, where intolerance and lack of understanding are part of the routine. Over time, people look for better places to work.
In addition, several studies have already proven the harmful effects of stress on health.
Thus, reducing environmental stress, indirectly, contributes to reducing turnover in the company and also to reducing leaves for health reasons.
Empathy at work increases productivity
When there are empathetic people in a work team, they tend to act in a more unified way, focusing on the same goal.
Another positive factor that favors increased productivity is that empathy helps to know each other’s difficulties and, in times of need, help each other towards friendship and the common good.
Increases customer satisfaction
When empathy is part of the day-to-day work, naturally, this atmosphere is transmitted to the final consumer.
If employees feel good at work, they treat customers better and strive to provide differentiated service positively.
Improves rapport between people on the team
It is common that different sectors of a company are not very well connected, either because of the number of employees or because employees from different teams do not know each other.
This situation generates conflicts between sectors, always believing that the other is not working correctly.
Empathy at work allows people to put themselves in the place of professionals from other teams and be willing to understand their difficulties. This perception favors better understanding and interpersonal relationships.
Why is it important to have empathy at work?
Empathy at work connects employees and different realities, favoring identification between people.
It must be encouraged by leadership and applied from the top down through positive attitudes.
This is how employees perceive that their opinions and difficulties are taken seriously by the company, remaining motivated to give their best and contribute to the organization’s growth and good results.
How to develop empathy at work?
To develop empathy at work, the company needs to implement several cultural and, mainly, managerial changes . Below are some steps you can take.
Have leaders who instigate empathy at work
Encouraging the development of empathy at work cannot be limited to speech. If it is not part of everyday practices, it won’t do any good.
This is exactly why the first step in developing this culture is to have leaders who already have this emotional skill.
If your company’s leaders are not empathetic people, they can be trained in the principles of positive leadership, which involve active listening , developing non-violent communication, and understanding different behavioral profiles .
Only in this way will managers be able to promote empathy among their subordinates, helping the company to achieve its goals.
Invest in corporate listening
Corporate listening is one of the pillars of empathy at work , as it is through it that employees are able to express their ideas, which, when accepted, make employees feel that they belong to the team.
Therefore, it is critical to create open communication channels to encourage the flow of ideas and make each employee feel valued.
But it’s important to remember that active listening involves not just listening, but considering people’s needs .
The world is much faster today. Everyone feels pressured to do more all the time.
It is often difficult to reconcile the personal and professional demands of everyday life, which is why flexibility is one of the fundamental points of empathy at work .
It is directly related to humanization in the work environment and is focused on the well-being of people, and demonstrates the company’s concern with the quality of life of the worker.
Some examples of flexibility are the offer of alternative and flexible hours, partial or full home office for certain positions or times, extension of maternity and paternity leave, among others.
Encourage dialogue and exchange of ideas
The exchange of ideas and free dialogue are basic premises of empathy at work. Without them, it’s impossible to have frank conversations and share opinions. But it is not always easy to break the barriers of this type of communication.
Therefore, it is important to invest in collaborative technologies, which allow this exchange of conversations and experiences.
Value learning and innovation
Empathy at work is directly linked to the perception that mistakes are part of the process. In an empathetic professional environment, professionals are not judged for their attempts or failures, but rather encouraged to put ideas into practice, correct their possible mistakes and improve themselves even more.
Recognize employees’ efforts
The motivation comes with the recognition , most of the time, so it is important to create incentive programs and rewards for individuals who achieve the goals.
Leaders also have a fundamental role in this objective, and must recognize each achievement of those they lead.
Promote diversity and inclusion
Empathy is related to recognizing and accepting the differences of others , therefore, diversity is essential to promote an empathetic environment.