Empathy is the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions or experience of others. It is more than a simple sympathy, which is the ability to understand and support others with compassion and sensitivity. In other words, it is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes, be aware of their feelings and understand their needs.
In the workplace, empathy can show a deep respect for coworkers and show that you care, as opposed to just going by rules and regulations. An empathic leadership style can make everyone feel like a team and increase productivity, morale, and loyalty. It is a powerful tool in leadership.
Empathetic people listen attentively to what someone is telling them and not easily distracted. They spend more time listening than talking. They want to understand the circumstance of others which helps those around them especially the feeling of being heard and recognized.
Executives and managers have an attitude of openness towards an understanding of the feelings and emotions of their subordinates. It is crucial in the workplace. It is necessary for every organization which deals with failures, poor performance and employees who truly want to succeed.
When you have compassion, you can easily understand what a person is feeling in a given moment, and understand why other people’s actions make sense to them. It helps us to communicate our ideas in a way that makes sense to others. It also helps us understand others when they want to approach us.
However, only a few people have this trait. Some people have fantastic natural empathy and can pick up how someone else is feeling simply by looking at them. Some people are insensitive that they won’t even notice that you are angry until you begin shouting. Most people lie somewhere in the middle and understand how someone else is feeling only at times.
If you want to understand the feelings of others, you need to learn to empathize with yourself first because understanding and accepting your own feelings is essential in empathizing with others.
Anyone can learn to understand how others are thinking and feeling. When you understand what someone else is thinking or feeling, it becomes easier to interact with them. But there’s a nonverbal aspect to an interaction that deserves special attention. The knowledge you gain from empathy can help you to use appropriate nonverbal communication which is more effective than oral communication.
Empathy, therefore, allows us to create bonds of trust. It gives us insights into what others may be feeling or thinking. It helps us understand how or why others are reacting to situations, and it sharpens our sound judgment.