Empathy at work

English is an interesting language. “Empathy at work” – you can read the title of this article in more ways than one.

It can be empathy in action in your life – like how we practice it in our daily lives, in our social interactions. Alternatively you can consider how empathy is applied at the workplace.

Be it everyday social life or workplace, one thing is confirmed – empathy is dynamic .[1]

The word empathy has become a part of daily vocabulary in our professional lives. People are urged to understand the difference it has between empathy and its close family of emotion, sympathy. In fact it’s interesting that some of the Asian cultures do have a distinct word to capture this emotion of empathy.Like in Thai, the word ‘gren-jai’ is explained as taking into consideration other persons’ needs before taking any action.

While experts say that empathy can be taught and can be an acquired skill [2], it’s strange that we are poor professionals that we rarely demonstrate our empathy skills! But do you know why? What works behind lack of or improper use of empathy?

  1. Maybe I will appear weak if I am empathetic at my workplace.
  2. So far, I have succeeded at the workplace using my ways.So why bother learning something new and disturb my success pattern?
  3. I will lose my share of ‘cake’ to others in the act of being empathetic.

So why waste time on being empathetic, when my business is running fine?

Has covid not shaken you up yet? Has the global uncertainties in business not left you baffled?

Business as usual is a story of the past. Businesses are changing every day and the change is faster than you can visualise. It is not about just a technology upgrade or a new business tool in the market. A recent survey by PwC on Workforce 2030 got 73% of respondents saying that technology will not replace the human mind, while 37% of people fear that automation will eat into their jobs.

So it is evident that it is going to be a whole new world of human and technology and that story is yet to unfold. Will it not make it necessary to read minds (not talking of using technology here!) in an organic way, so that one can position oneself at work? Yes, it will not be a mere need, it will be MANDATORY! [3]

And what is that mind reading tool? EMPATHY! [4]

But how do we put it to work? Make your personal brand empathetic.

Easier said than done! How?

Some common mistakes professionals make in being empathetic

  1. We know we need to listen to others, but most of the time we just ‘hear’ not really listen. We are so busy with our own noise, that we can hardly listen to what we should.
  2. We are so biased, that we have no time or space to accommodate the other viewpoint.
  3. Not appreciating the cultural mismatches before reacting to a business situation.

While the list can run long, it makes more sense to find ways out to be ‘professionally’ empathetic.

Some tips that might help get you start thinking

  1. Respond, react appropriately to situations that demand so. Empathy is best demonstrated in practice.
  2. Our authenticity in action we take – a great way is to analyse how you engage on social media platforms with your audience.
  3. How true are your professional promises? [Do not pretend being busy, your audience is no fool]

In a rapidly evolving business world, EMPATHY can be a great gamechanger. And don’t be surprised, if you are advised to draw up your strategic empathy intervention schedule.

So what are our takeaways, on empathy? It is

  • Great gamechanger
  • It is a mind reading tool
  • It is mandatory for the future
  • It can be taught and acquired
  • It is dynamic!

Is empathy your brand signature – is it other’s envy and your pride? Time to check out answers to these questions!