In today’s world, busyness, complexity and stress are part of life. In the meantime, what strengthens a work environment well is empathy. Empathy is the ability to recognize people’s emotions and understand how they look at things. When others accept and value us, trust is formed and our efficiency increases. According to research, empathetic management has a direct effect on employee productivity, loyalty and work commitment. Melody Wilding is a mentor, speaker and author. He teaches his audience how to progress mentally and emotionally in their workplace. In this article, he discusses the habits of empathetic leaders. Stay with us.
It is not that empathy is limited to the realm of our personal lives. We need empathy to comfort our bereaved colleague, to accompany others with our opinions, and to reduce tension with our boss.
You do not need professional training to be an expert in empathy. Man is a social being and our brain is tuned to communicate with others; Therefore, it is enough to strengthen your empathy ability by practicing.
I have taught hundreds of people how to be empathetic leaders. I now share my experiences with you.
1. They have a presence of mind
Before meeting my clients, I provide an environment in which I can be comfortable and fully focused. You need to do the same for empathy in your workplace.
Turn off the phone, or at least turn the screen down. Turn off the email notification message on the laptop. How much better to close your laptop before the meeting. Always give all your attention and respect to others. Don’t you want the same from others?
2. They are experts in the art of listening
My responsibility as a coach is to help clients overcome obstacles; In this way, they can best move in the direction of their goals. To achieve this, I must first make sure that I understand their priorities and preferences well.
In the same way, in empathetic management, you should be able to listen to others without judgment and without speculation. Instead of judging and presupposing, you need active listening skills. These skills include:
- Reflection: “You mean that…” or “I understood that…”;
- Confirmation: A smile, a nod, or a confirmation phrase such as “notice” or “oh”;
- Encouragement: “What happened next?”;
Adapt your character to such reactions to be original. Unite with the other side.
3. They use non-verbal communication
Communication takes place on a level beyond words. If you see someone pulling themselves back or pulling away, or suddenly avoiding eye contact, these are important signs that tell you it’s time to empathize.
When I notice a strong reaction such as anger or the teary eyes of my clients, I distance myself from the routine of our meetings and ask them to talk about their inner feelings. Instead of letting them ignore their aroused feelings, I ask them to gently and kindly describe their experience. By doing so, they are allowed to share their stressful experiences freely, knowing that they will not be judged or criticized.
You can use the same method in dealing with your work group. If someone seems to be offended, kindly ask the reason: “Has something happened? “Tell me what happened to you?” Sometimes the only question that is enough to open the conversation: “What’s on your mind?”
4. They practice pausing
We often jump in the middle of others’ sentences with the intention of helping and say our advice. As a practice today, wait 5 minutes in a conversation before answering. It will be hard! But you will be amazed at how good the practice of “saying nothing” is.
Easy use of silence has been the most valuable skill I have acquired at university. This skill can be used to build, communicate and trust.
5. Instead of giving advice, they are curious
Instead of commenting, be curious and ask questions that will help you better understand the other person’s point of view, such as:
- “How do you feel about that?”
- “Can you tell me more?”
- “what do you mean?”
- “What can be done to help?”
- “What is your analysis of the story?”
6. They use “we” instead of “I”
Clients are usually stuck and confused when they come to me. To let them know that they are not alone, I will quickly point out how we (together as a team) want to deal with their problems. Using the words “we” and “for us” makes them feel empowered and supported.
Research shows that changing words helps to develop an empathetic attitude. People who use more pronouns (you, you) are more successful in interpreting other people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; This means empathy.
When you want to have a genuine relationship with each other, talking about your common goals creates a bond between you, for example: “Let’s see what we can do to solve this problem”, “We can do it”.
7. Employees look at things through the lens
In addition to what I have said so far, I always try to put myself in the shoes of clients: I think about their possible fears and the positive changes they dream of.
Do this inner exercise by guessing the attitude of others. Especially in dealing with tough people, it is important to be optimistic about their intentions and outlook; That is, unless proven otherwise, assume that the other has a respectful, not malicious, view.
This change in attitude has a profound effect on your mood, which helps you maintain a state of empathy.
8. They work on their emotional literacy
Develop a vocabulary related to emotions and feelings; In this way, you will be able to recognize and express the type of these emotions in the personality of others.
Sometimes even I, like everyone else, behave less than I expect to be empathetic (especially when I’m hungry, which is a real problem). This is a sign that I need to strengthen my self-care spirit.
Don’t forget to replenish your emotional energy supply as well; Because you can not empathize with others with an empty inner self.