Is Empathy Appropriate at Work?

Is Showing Empathy at Work a Weakness?

Empathy is a powerful skill for you to use in leading your team. Empathy is defined as the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences, feelings and emotions. (Merriam-Webster online dictionary)

There it is. The word emotion. And even more challenging – the word feeling.

Often we think there is no place at work for feelings and emotions, yet behind every interaction is some kind of feeling or emotion.

When we say there is no place for it, we mean, we are not going to talk about it. It means no one wants to address feelings and emotions at work. Most people don’t know how to acknowledge feelings and emotions in their personal lives either.

I have leaders tell me frequently that they have no time to be empathetic at work. What they really mean is they don’t want people to come into their offices and cry on their shoulders. I can understand that. However, there are easy ways to show empathy.

Often a team member or employee can feel that you care when you start your conversation with an empathetic approach.

“Thank you for working late last night. We made our deadline because you helped out. I know you missed the ball game. We’ll make it up to you so you can leave earlier next time.”

“I’m sorry you are having a tough time at home. I appreciate your focus while you are here.”

People need to know that you care and understand what is going on for them.

Bosses who ignore the emotions and feelings of their team members and only focus on the task are risking employee engagement as well as productivity.

If you are a boss who is very tasked-focused, take a little time each day to talk with one of your team members. As little as five minutes can make a huge difference.

© copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Whether it is mentoring people to lead more effectively, improve their own performance or step into what is next, Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding leaders to achieve business goals and reach their highest potential. 

Today’s leaders are managing diverse teams and projects that require impeccable communication and decision making skills. The ability to clearly define the vision, goals and purpose of any business initiative that will motivate a team or individual is the key to achieving big results. 

Kathy specializes in coaching and mentoring these high potential, thought leaders to accurately define and communicate the vision, goals and expected results to management, teams and clients.

 

 

 

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