| I wish to share a good article by Ms Allanah Hunt on how to improve Empathy.
Hopefully those who have the opportunity to read this will gain some useful knowledge on improving their empathy.
Empathy is a very important skill. It helps us develop deep levels of rapport and trust, both of which are vital for the success of our relationships as well as our interactions in the workplace. Having poor empathy skills can lead to unnecessary conflict born out of misunderstandings.
In business, the key component to our success is understanding the needs of our clients, patients, customers or staff. If we don’t focus on ‘putting ourselves in their shoes’, we will make catastrophic mistakes which can lead to failure.
The dictionary describes empathy as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.
Understanding the importance of empathy and employing those skills are two different things. It is only when we act with true empathy that we can create connections that are long-lasting and real.
There are some instances where acting with empathy can feel overwhelming. It is important to learn how to balance our empathy for others with the need to take care of ourselves or we will burn out completely.
So what can we do to build empathy skills and improve our relationships with those around us?
Pay Close Attention
This might seem like a no-brainer but in truth, we are often so distracted by our mobile devices, what is showing on the television or our need to tell our own story, that we don’t really notice what someone is telling us. Just because you hear the words someone is saying, doesn’t mean you’ve heard them. Improving your listening skills will help you pay more attention to others and allow you to pick up on the emotions behind the words.
A great way to raise your ability to pay attention is to watch television with the sound off. In this way you can watch the interplay of emotions between the various characters and learn to pick up cues which will help you follow the story.
Distance Yourself From Stereotypes And Find Commonalities
We all have preconceived ideas about others based on the media, our peers and our own observations. But when it comes to individual interactions, we must put those aside and find a way to connect with others.
The best way to build a connection is to meet people where they are. Everyone has a story and if you take the time to listen, you might be surprised at what you discover. Sometimes the people we understand the least have the most to teach us.
Agree to Disagree
There may be occasions when you don’t agree with someone else’s view of a specific situation but where you can nonetheless recognize that empathy is required. This is particularly important when somebody is having a strong emotion and asking you to do something you can’t do.