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Building Empathy

Empathy is your ability to figure out what other people are feeling without being told. This understanding will aid you in determining the best way to approach your team members.

The characteristics of empathy

If you have empathy, you can change your behavior when necessary. You’ll read other people’s feelings, then act accordingly. Without empathy, you run the risk of saying inappropriate things. You will plunge ahead without considering other people’s feelings.

People with empathy share common behaviors. They accurately read the feelings of others and they adjust their actions accordingly. Empathetic people build effective relationships because they understand other people’s feelings and needs.

Characteristics of people with empathy

Now, let’s try an exercise. For each of the following characteristics, determine your skill level. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-5, with 1 representing very little skill, and 5 being highly skilled. Work on those skills you rate less than 4.

The characteristics are:

  • good listening skills,
  • avoiding interrupting others,
  • seeing things from other people’s point of view,
  • interpreting other people’s nonverbal cues,
  • showing sensitivity,
  • avoiding judging others,
  • avoiding hurting other people’s feelings.

Empathetic people

Listen – Empathetic people listen without interrupting or giving advice. These skills can be especially important when dealing with customers. The best listeners pay attention so they meet customers’ needs and desires.

See things from other points of view –They are able to understand what makes another person angry, frustrated, or happy. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Pick up on cues – When people have empathy, they don’t just listen to words. They pick up on nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, body movement, and facial expressions. After all, people don’t speak only with words.

Show sensitivity – In order to demonstrate empathy, you must show sensitivity. You shouldn’t cut people off or judge what they are saying. You should be careful not to hurt other people’s feelings.

Empathy is an important skill in relating to others. To have empathy for others, you must care about their feelings and make an effort to see their points of view.

Your ability to empathize will help you relate effectively to co-workers and customers. You’ll be able to understand their emotions and respond to their needs.

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