Empathy is the ability to feel the same emotions felt by someone else. This trait allows you to feel pain for a friend whose going through a divorce, or excitement for a sister who was recently proposed to. As human beings, empathy is a critical characteristic to take on and understand. While some of us naturally exude empathy every single day, it may take others a little longer to improve their listening and open up to others.
If you are a leader in your office, or perhaps even the owner of a business, empathy is one of the most important traits for you to acquire. It not only establishes trust among coworkers, but it also helps you sharpen your intuition and make the best decisions for your employees.
While many in the workforce deem empathy as a sign of weakness, it’s actually a valuable currency that ever leader should adopt.
Here are the top ways to showcase empathy in the office and still accomplish the work each day.
When you’re listening to a coworker, give them your undivided attention. Try not to stray and begin thinking about other tasks on your to-do list. Once they are finished voicing their opinions or concerns, repeat what they said and then offer your advice. Your employees just want to be heard. Offering up a set amount of time to talk with each employee will not only give you insight on how to improve the office environment but will also make your employees feel appreciated!
If your employee is into local Harry Potter quidditch tournaments, soap carving, or collecting comic books, show genuine interest in what they enjoy doing during their free time. Not only will this inspire more of a bond between you and your employee, but who knows, it may even spark your interest in a brand-new hobby too?
Similar to listening, it’s a must to focus on the now and not worry about what tomorrow will bring. By being present, you’ll appear calmer and fabricate a calmer office atmosphere as well. One way to remain present each day, is to take 10 minutes out of your day to meditate. By being present, you’ll automatically become more self-aware and mindful of your surroundings.
Okay, now you know how to be more empathetic, but how will this skill help improve your workplace environment overall?
Showcasing empathy is one of the best ways to encourage your employees to think outside of the box. When employees feel heard, they are much more likely to take chances, come up with new ideas, and help increase the value of the company because THEY feel valued.
Improve Team Building
Boosting morale among employees is another sign of empathy – it shows that you care about your employees’ time at work. By understanding work-life balance and organizing monthly team building activities, your employees will feel more engaged and willing to build lasting bonds with one another.
Inspire New Leaders
Lastly, by individually focusing on your employees’ strengths and listening to their professional goals, you’ll be able to establish new leaders within the company. Offer up advice, mentor them, give them new responsibilities – by paying attention and becoming your employees’ cheerleader, not only will you gain respect, but you will also feel rewarded each day.
You can’t become empathetic overnight. Just like working out, empathy is like building muscle through consistent exercises. When you take the time to practice the above tips, you’ll begin to improve this necessary skill and become a well-rounded leader in no time.