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[av_one_full first min_height=” vertical_alignment=’av-align-top’ space=” row_boxshadow=” row_boxshadow_color=” row_boxshadow_width=’10’ custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ mobile_breaking=” min_col_height=” padding=” svg_div_top=” svg_div_top_color=’#333333′ svg_div_top_width=’100′ svg_div_top_height=’50’ svg_div_top_max_height=’none’ svg_div_top_flip=” svg_div_top_invert=” svg_div_top_front=” svg_div_top_opacity=” svg_div_top_preview=” svg_div_bottom=” svg_div_bottom_color=’#333333′ svg_div_bottom_width=’100′ svg_div_bottom_height=’50’ svg_div_bottom_max_height=’none’ svg_div_bottom_flip=” svg_div_bottom_invert=” svg_div_bottom_front=” svg_div_bottom_opacity=” svg_div_bottom_preview=” border=” border_style=’solid’ border_color=” radius=” column_boxshadow=” column_boxshadow_color=” column_boxshadow_width=’10’ background=’bg_color’ background_color=” background_gradient_direction=’vertical’ background_gradient_color1=’#000000′ background_gradient_color2=’#ffffff’ background_gradient_color3=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ highlight=” highlight_size=” animation=” link=” linktarget=” link_hover=” title_attr=” alt_attr=” mobile_display=” id=” custom_class=” template_class=” aria_label=” av_uid=’av-8d3pe’ sc_version=’1.0′] [av_video src=’′ mobile_image=” attachment=” attachment_size=” video_autoplay_enabled=’aviaTBvideo_autoplay_enabled’ format=’16-9′ width=’16’ height=’9′ conditional_play=” id=” custom_class=” template_class=” av_uid=’av-kvap2lv1′ sc_version=’1.0′] [av_textblock size=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” font_color=” color=” id=” custom_class=” template_class=” av_uid=’av-kvap1jq6′ sc_version=’1.0′ admin_preview_bg=”] What is Empathy at Work?

Hodges and Myers in the Encyclopedia of Social Psychology say, “Empathy is often defined as understanding another person’s experience by imagining oneself in that other person’s situation.”

“Without empathy it is not possible to get the best from your team, so for this reason it is the key to everything” says Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

“Empathy is key in the design process, especially when you start expanding outside of your comfort zone to new languages, cultures, and age groups. If you try to assume what those people want, you’re likely to get it wrong” states Mike Krieger, founder of Instagram

“Empathy helps marketers break out of their blind spots, open their eyes to the human side of the consumer and flips the conversation from brand-led to people-led” says Nick Graham, VP, Insights at PepsiCo

Empathy is a component of Emotional Intelligence, which in itself is how you respond, think and behave internally and externally as a result of the information you collect from being empathic.

Is There a Science of Empathy?

“Empathy requires cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and moral capacities to understand and respond to the suffering of others. … Human beings have intricate, shared neural circuits in motor, sensory, and emotional (limbic) areas of the brain to help them understand the experience of others, leading to helping behaviors.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.giv

“About one to two percent of the population are true empaths” Nature Neuroscience

Why Empathy is Essential in Business

Let’s get one thing straight – “Don’t confuse empathy with making people happy or being nice.  Sometimes you’ll suss out another’s perspective and feelings and purposefully ignore them.  Or even use it to gain an advantage.  Essentially empathy is a neutral data gathering tool that enables you to understand the human environment within which you are operating in business and therefore make better predictions, craft better tactics, inspire loyalty and communicate clearly.” says Prudy Gourguechon, Forbes Contributor

Empathy is essential in business for:

  • Establishing a genuine and authentic connection with those around you
  • Find a balance between different points of view
  • Deepening of professional relationships
  • Opportunity to more effectively negotiate and influence

“Whether you’re a salesperson, an operator, or a businessperson, if you can understand what the other person is thinking and what their goals are, you can reverse engineer those aims and map it back to your goals too. That knowledge sets you up to win. You’ll both win.” says Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary adds, “I’m very aware that 99% of you reading this think that I’m a “mouth,” but I promise you, that I’m an ear disguised as a mouth.”

3 Types of Empathy

Cognitive – perceiving that you know how the other person feels and thinks

Emotional – feeling the other persons’ emotions within you

Compassionate – being driven to respond to their feelings and behaviours

Pros and Cons of Being an Empath

Cognitive – You can step into their shoes without an energy drain on yourself

Emotional – Deeper level of interaction with the other but a potential energy drain

Compassionate – Things happen and change, but beware of energy vampires

Empathy Light as a Manager or Leader

“Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.” claims Brene Brown

  • Active Listening
  • Give Full Attention
  • Be Present
  • Constructive Feedback
  • Appear Responsive
  • Emotional lntelligence

“Sometimes you may need to keep your ego in check, to begin”

“You don’t really have any idea what’s going on in someone else’s life, so don’t judge”

“Like the practice of self-awareness, empathy involves scanning large sets of data, sorting out what’s noise and what’s essential information.”

Challenging the CBT Loop

Helping someone at work out of an unhelpful repetitive loop, can be achieved by making them realise their world is a product of their (interactions between)

  • Thoughts
  • Feelings 
  • Behaviours

You CAN Learn Empathy at Work

How are you feeling?

I’m sorry to hear that

I would feel the same

How can I help?

Tell me about it

View a situation in terms of how others feel, but without getting so emotionally invested

Be objective

Balance empathy in such a way that results are met without burdening well-being

Establish rapport with colleagues

Show reasonable concern and support for colleagues in every way possible to help them perform and grow

Practice active listening without interrupting and reflective listening by paraphrasing

Avoid quick judgment

Use appropriate non-verbal cues

Validate the other people’s perspective (this does not mean agreement, but simply that you understand where they are coming from)

Tips above are from Pamme Boutselis

“Very successful business leaders are often extremely fast information processors.  With my clients who do not “suffer fools gladly,” I recommend taking a moment to deploy a bit of empathy—what’s behind a colleague’s wish to propose what immediately looks like a dumb idea? Follow with an empathic comment along the lines of “I can see why you got excited about that because it’s an important issue, but unfortunately it would raise compliance problems so we can’t pursue that route.” A 90-second investment of time can prevent the employee’s feeling humiliated and disaffected in the long-term.” explains Prudy Gourguechon, Forbes Contributor

7 Ways To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Emotions

  • Name The Feeling. Do the feelings belong to you, or someone else?
  • Ground Yourself
  • Be Self-Aware
  • Visualise A Glass Wall
  • Be Curious
  • Have Strong Boundaries
  • Release The Emotion

Checklist from

Let’s Put Empathy Into Action

Don’t just feel empathy at work – use it

“Businesses love to say that the customer is always right, but their actions need to reciprocate that statement.” Gary Vaynerchuk

8 tips to improve empathy in the workplace, from

  • Listen
  • Train your brain
  • Really work with your team
  • Learn to recognise bias
  • Don’t take advantage of empathy
  • Don’t assume the worst
  • Take team building seriously
  • Little actions make a big difference

My Top 3 Empathy at Work Tips


Listen Actively


For more blogs, webinars and articles like this, visit Neil Wilkins’ Mindful Living page
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