Many of us have an idea of what empathy is, but do you manage to use it as an active tool to create a better culture in your workplace?
Empathy is no longer just a soft bonus that gives you good stomach sensation during the breaks while bouncing to reach it all before fyraften. If you are lucky, empathy is a management tool in your workplace. Empathy provides measurable plus on the bottom line through, among other things, better cooperation, less absence and faster resolution of conflicts.
There have been numerous studies, especially from the United States, and empathy enjoys propagation in the business world as a management tool.
Is your company part of this movement? – or do you want it to be?
Feeling without being vague
Many people have an idea of what empathy is, but how is it that can work out in the workplace? Here are a few examples:
The boss: "I actually imagined that you had asked a colleague to proofread the ad before you sent it off. Spelling mistakes in a job posting – it sends a really bad signal.”
The employee (ashamed and defensive): "It was five minutes past the deadline, I didn't have a chance to make it."
The boss (empathically): “I can see you're not comfortable right now, is it uncomfortable to be confronted like this? I know how important it is for you to do flawless work.”
"Yes! And it was actually not a task that I myself had asked for.” The employee's defenses relax now that she feels heard. A little bit of trust has now been re-established.
The boss: "It is important to me that what we send out is in order. Will you let me know another time if you're pressed for a deadline?”
You are one of us
Bent: "Wow, wasn't there cake this afternoon?"
The colleague: "I'm afraid you were late."
Bent turns his back and gives a cup of coffee.
The colleague senses Bent's disappointment: "Bent, is it important to you that we remember each other, even when someone is busy with a customer?"
Bent: "Yes, no one thinks an empty dish is cool, right?"
The colleague: “Yes, I also wish we had set something aside for you. I also think it is important that we think of each other.”
Although Bent did not help to divide the cake, he got a signal that there was one who saw him. And that's one of the things that even makes a brief empathetic remark.
How empathy works
Empathy creates a bridge that connects us as people, regardless of the fact that we also have different positions towards each other. Empathy works equally well from boss to employee as 'upward' and from customer to seller as the opposite.
When we find that our humanity is recognized, the automatic preparedness that many of us go about is relaxing. It opens for energy and creativity.
Do you belong to one of those who is a little confused about how to be empathetic without getting too approachable or exceeding boundaries? So contact me and get lots of tangible tips and tricks.
Get wiser on:
- Why empathy at work?
- When is it good to turn up for empathy?
- How do you do it?