Empathy - Do You Need It?!
There may be a school of thought that says personal situations and feelings should be left at home and not be taken into work. This is easier said than done. How can someone forget their feelings/emotions if a family member has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or they are going through a messy divorce?
Empathy means putting yourself into another person’s shoes to understand how personal issues and problems are affecting them so that they can be helped. How would you feel in this situation and what sort of support would you want? We do react differently to the same situation, but empathy allows us to understand how someone may be feeling. This means we can give them support and flexibility at work so that they remain focused and productive.
Empathy is becoming an important part of work culture as people realise that emotions are very much part of our make-up, we’re not automatons! This extends into all areas. If a person is having difficulty with work, empathise and see how you can help them get the confidence they need to do the job, e.g. more training, or help from others.
Having a caring attitude means we don’t leave employees floundering with emotional upheaval and no-one to turn to. Most of us have had life situations to deal with and feel grateful to the family and friends who helped us. This applies to a business as well – research shows that employees feel more loyalty towards businesses that are caring. Companies with an empathetic attitude have better collaboration, greater morale amongst their employees and less stress.
It has been shown that people mimic each other and the same applies in a company culture. If an employee takes credit for someone else’s work, chances are another person will do the same. If compassion and caring is shown, then employees will imitate this. People may say they don’t know how to have empathy but such things can be learnt.
Having an empathetic culture in your company builds a sense of caring and loyalty. Emotions are a very real part of the human psyche and showing your employees you care about their wellbeing means that they in turn will be more committed and loyal to helping your business be more successful..