How To Create Empathy In Your Career

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Do you feel as though you’re really being heard and understood in your career? Do you think you give that attention to others?

It’s time to be more empathetic in the workplace. A 2018 State of Workplace Empathy study conducted by Businessolver revealed that 96% of employees believed their employers should be empathetic, and 92% believed empathy was undervalued. Eight out of ten CEOs and HR professionals believed that empathy in the workplace had a positive impact on performance and employee motivation and productivity.

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to not just sympathize with someone else’s emotions, but to truly understand them, and put yourself in their shoes. Some people are naturally empathetic, while others need to work a bit harder at it.

Why is it important?

Not only will empathy strengthen your personal emotional intelligence, but it will also help you work better in teams, understand those around you, and anticipate the needs of your coworkers, employers, or clients. Business leaders believe empathy improves leadership. President of George Mason University Ángel Cabrera said it best: “If you can find the discipline and energy to shut up and listen, you’re going to learn aspects of your failure that you had no clue about.”

How can you create it?

There are so many ways you can create empathy in your career, but here are three core skills that will make your peers, employers, or employees truly feel heard and empathized with.

· Listen.

When you’re communicating, are you actually listening, or are you simply waiting for your turn to speak? An empathetic listener will truly tune in to what the other person is saying, and completely absorb their words. Listening isn’t just about hearing… It’s about understanding.

· Ask questions.

The best way to show someone you really listened to and understood them is to ask clarifying questions. “What did you mean by this?” or “when you said that, it made me think of this, what do you think?” are great ways to make the other person feel heard, and cultivate stronger relationships. The more people feel heard, the more they’re willing to open up, and the more effective your work can be.

· Be present.

There’s nothing worse than trying to engage with someone who isn’t fully present. Maybe they’re on their phone, or you can just tell their mind is elsewhere. When you’re communicating with someone, make sure you’re giving them your full attention. You can’t practice empathy if you’re not completely in tune with those around you. Empathy is all about connecting with and understanding others. Put down the phone, and give everyone your undivided attention.

Empathy is a skill that needs to be worked at and cultivated. Not everyone is automatically born an empathetic person… And that’s ok! Just recognize the importance of empathy, how it can help you in your career, and how you can implement it. Whether you want to connect better with your coworkers, your clients, your employers, or your employees, empathy is an amazing tool for really understanding and connecting with the people in your career.

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