Feeling and demonstrating empathy is tied to better performance at work, and especially to better leadership. Empathy is also crucial for customer service – research shows that for every point increase in customer-perceived empathy, an organisation experiences a 16.4% increase in financial returns.
In this two-hour session, we will:
• Consider the differences between empathy and sympathy
• Practise using empathy as a way of building connection and overcoming conflict
• Consider the use of empathy in devising products and solutions that will work well for other people
• Practise anticipating the needs of other people
Empathy is the skill of imaginatively discovering the needs and feelings of others and being able to adjust one’s own behaviour accordingly.
What characterises mastery of this skill?
Empathetic employees actively take into account the needs and feelings of colleagues, clients, managers and other stakeholders at work. They are good at resolving conflicts and negotiating between parties due to their understanding of where a conflict originates from. They adjust their language to their counterpart, show patience and take time for explanations, and actively put themselves in the role of the other. Their colleagues or team members usually feel appreciated, recognised and content with outcomes of meetings. The skill of empathy is especially useful in leadership positions as well as in positions that require intensive social interactions and commitment of others such as design, customer service or healthcare.
What characterises a lack of this skill?
A lack of empathy can be seen in teams that have reoccuring, unresolved and unfair conflicts. Employees struggling with empathy often find it extremely taxing to understand what a colleague, customer or manager means or why they behave in a certain way. They might unintentionally hurt or upset others during meetings resulting in feelings of anger, disappointment or dissatisfaction in their team. They neither take enough time to explain their point nor ask for the perspective of their conversation partner. Due to the nature of this skill, it is very difficult to spot one’s own lack of empath.
‘Practical ways of implementing empathy in real life work examples’
‘Simple approaches with clear practical steps to be used on a daily basis’
‘Practicing empathy both in building products and relationships’
News and Insights from The School of Life for Business
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