- What is Empathy?
- Why is everyone talking about the importance of Empathy?
- How can Empathy help to improve people’s lives?
Empathy is the ability to step into the shoe of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. That makes it different from kindness or pity. In a busy, complex, stressful world, empathy is the glue that holds relationships together. Whether you want to connect with your colleagues, customers, or children, you need to master the art of empathetic communication.
Empathy is something that anyone can cultivate in their daily life. That’s important because it’s empathy which allows us to connect effectively with others, a skill useful for literally every aspect of life from your personal to professional relationships.
Empathy is a leadership competency – like no other skill- that can make a big difference when it comes to leadership.
Empathy means being able to understand the needs of others. It means you’re aware of their feelings and their thinking.
But what does a highly great empathetic leader look like? What habits define those who make the most of this critical skill? By knowing more about their habits, we can better develop greater empathy in our own life.
Here are six habits of highly empathetic leaders that you might not be aware of:
- Natural curiosity about people
They retain that same natural curiosity for meeting new people that we all had as children. This natural curiosity allows us to meet new people and learn about their stories and perspective, further expanding our own understanding and allowing us to cultivate empathy towards them.
- Challenge their own misconceived notions about people
They challenge these notions and will try to understand people first rather than judging them outright. They will understand that the prejudice and perceptions we cultivate can often be wrong, so they are always looking to learn more about what they don’t yet fully understand.
- Place themselves in other people’s shoes and try to understand
They will make it a habit to think for others and try to understand their perspective. They will think what others might be thinking, feel what others might be feeling, and do what they do so they can understand why they believe what they believe.
- Knowing how to move others to action
Fun fact: highly empathetic people can use the power of empathy to move large groups of people to act or create some positive social change. WOW!
They understand the power of empathy because they have seen that power first-hand, having used it in their daily life on a smaller scale that hints to them – the more widespread power of empathy to create a great change.
- Their empathy encompasses all of humankind
They understand that not extending the same kindness to those who might be considered adversaries or who simply hold contrary opinions or do wrong doesn’t make sense. They understand the common ground that we all share, such as feelings, experiences, pain.
Empathy is not your strong trait?
Do not worry! If empathy Is not your strong trait, never fear! There are ways to practice putting yourself in another person’s shoes.
- Communicate with care
The way you ask a question can convey a lot, even if you do not mean to. We suggest that instead of asking “why” questions, try asking “what”, “how”, “when” or “where” questions. “why” questions normally sound more judgmental than the other questions. Don’t you think so?
- Be okay with silence
There’s a time to listen, a time to talk, and a time to be comfortable with neither. It’s clear that making space for silence is a surprisingly effective tool for building connections, even when people are communicating via pre-recorded video.
- Paraphrase and summarize
If you are trying to convey that you are hearing another person’s pain and feeling their emotions with them, there might be nothing more effective than this tool. Show your support by trying to capture what they’re telling you in a nutshell. It not only shows that you have been paying attention and thinking about what they have said, but it also might give that person a useful new framework through which to view their problem. Just make sure you are not overwhelming them with solutions when all they need is your support.