When considering excellence in networking, having or showing empathy is probably not one of first things that come to mind. Actually, some would say that it has no place in the networking scene because people don’t want to hear sob stories and no one should expose who they really are to strangers. Others say that it’s too risky, you never know what a person may think or it may cost a relationship with that one perfect contact.
Only within the last 20 years or so has empathy started being a character trait looked for in new hires, especially those seeking leadership positions. In the past, it was a trait reserved for outside the work environment and if displayed, created negative impressions of being too soft, too sensitive, or getting too close. Empathy was considered a trait reserved for family or close friends and only displayed in non-work related environments. However, in today’s work and social space, empathy has taken on a whole new meaning and is now one of the major character traits employers seek, realizing they need it to sustain a healthy and harmonious work environment.
What is empathy?
Empathy is the ability to create a sense of connection with others and inspire them to cooperate, move with and toward you instead of away from and against you. It’s a shared positive emotion that causes one to be aware and considerate of others’ feelings. Empathy is the foundation to positive interaction between two parties.
Why is empathy important in any environment?
When empathy is authentically displayed, people are more likely to agree, support, and assist because they share a sense of connection, mutual respect and admiration. It helps to build and sustain quality relationships with others.
How is empathy displayed?
There are three behaviors that one can adopt and practice to create a more empathetic atmosphere when talking with others.
- Be more attentive – Tune in to the person and don’t get distracted. Make them feel special!
- Show appreciation – Be respectful in actions and words. Verbally acknowledge appreciation.
- Affirm – Help people feel good about who they are and their contributions, no matter how small.
The key principle of empathy is making an effective connection with another person, based on where they are and what their needs are at the moment. Showing empathy to others is a long-term investment that will reap great rewards in the future.
“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” – Marian Wright Edelman
- Do you display empathy to those around you?
- When someone empathized with you, how did it make you feel?
- Would you like to find out how to improve empathy amongst your employees and co-workers?
Contact Janet Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.lwpap.com/lwpap and comment on this post.
LEADERSHIP IS ALWAYS A CHOICE!