I spent some time in our last post talking about how it is empathy in any business that can make or break it. There are several studies that prove that consciously incorporating techniques to build empathy in the office can help significantly boost the employees’ as well as the business’ performance. How do we do that, though?
Danny Leffel, the CEO of the communications app CREW states “The empathy for the teams that you lead, empathy for the workers that are here, it’s such a shortcut in so many ways to being a more effective leader because you understand what’s going on and so I think that’s a really important quality.” Building individual and collective empathy can really build stronger teams, stronger products and happier clients. These are a few of our top tried and tested ways to build empathy in your office:
Individuals, not just groups: Whether you are in a leadership position at work, or you are dealing with customers, speak to your people as if they are individuals, not just a group of people for you to deal with. Use their names when talking to them, ask questions about them and what they need. Find small ways to appreciate them and connect with them. It may take a few minutes more of your time, but it will build connections and will give you more insights about them as well.
Listen: Okay I swear this isn’t just a way for me to plug in LearnEd’s previous blog posts on listening effectively, but one of the simplest ways to practice empathy is to listen to people around you. It will take a few minutes of your time, but it will build connections and will give you more insights about them as well. Let your colleagues know what they think matters.
I Understand: Acknowledging someone’s point of view or opinion before you try to say otherwise makes them more likely to listen to you. “I understand how you feel/I understand where you’re coming/I would have felt the same way” – beginning a sentence like this, even if you were to disagree after, will go a long way.
Be kind – in word and action: Don’t make assumptions about people. Everyone has their own struggles and showing a little kindness, especially when you are angry, can avert the biggest of disasters. If you wish for your boss to understand your situation better, you need to start doing the same for your boss, and eventually you’ll both find the common ground to be able to talk about the problem at hand. Communicate effectively without being harsh. Give second chances as far as possible.
Empathy is not a golden wand that can magically grow your business or make you a superstar at work. It will give you strength and clarity, however. While it may take a while, practicing consistently and using techniques to build empathy will show you results for sure. Team LearnEd will bet on that!