More On Empathy

Research has shown that empathy has significant, constructive impacts.

Empathy can help people better handle

- mental health challenges (people who are experiencing stress have increased anxiety, are more likely to be emotionally exhausted, irritable, have problems concentrating, take longer to finish tasks, use tribal thinking and find juggling responsibility a challenge.)

- personal lives (people experiencing negativity, eg rudeness, incivility, etc  at work find that it can spill over into their personal lives; in addition to reducing performance at work, it can result in people being less willing to help others, ie

"...Workplace incivility is rising and the effects are extensive, including reduced performance and collaboration, Deteriorating customer experience and increased turnover..."
Georgetown University as quoted by Tracy Brower, 2021)

Empathy can also improve

- innovation

- staff engagement

- staff retention

- inclusivity

- work-life balance, ie juggle personal, family and work obligations

- cooperation

"...Empathy fosters more empathy..."
Tracy Brower, 2021

We are wired for empathy, ie It appears to be inate, ie

"...when people saw their friends experiencing threats, they experienced activity in the same part of their brain which was affected by when they were personally threatened. People felt for their friends and teammates as deeply as they felt for themselves..."
Tracy Brower, 2021

People can demonstrate empathy in 2 ways:

i) cognitive empathy (consider someone else's thoughts, ie

"...if I were in his or her position, what would I be thinking right now?..."
Tracy Brower, 2021)

ii) emotional empathy (focus on a person's feelings, ie

"...Being in his/her position would make me feel------..."
Tracy Brower, 2021)

People are most successful in empathy

"...Not just when they personally consider others, but when they express their concerns and inquire about challenges directly, and then listen to employees' responses..."
Tracy Brower, 2021

It involves caring and paying attention, ie

"... It's enough to check in, asked questions and take cues from the employee about how much they want to share..."
Tracy Brower, 2021

People need to 'walk the talk', ie there is alignment between what somebody says and does.

"... All that understanding of someone else's situation should turn into compassion and action. Empathy in action is understanding an employee's struggles and offering to help. It is appreciating a person's point of view and engaging in a healthy debate that builds a better solution...... as the popular saying goes, people may not remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel..."
Tracy Brower, 2021

In summary

Empathy contributes to positive relationships, productive organisational cultures and drives results.

 

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