Do you want to show more empathy towards others in the workplace?

Empathy is the ability to understand and feel for another’s experience, including their emotions and thoughts. It’s important for everyone at work to cultivate and express empathy towards those around them to create a secure, healthy environment. 

There are three types of empathy you can develop:

  • Emotional: Understanding others’ emotions and feelings
  • Cognitive: Understanding others on an intellectual level
  • Compassionate: Understanding others’ hardships and wanting to help them if needed

By mastering these components, you can develop healthy relationships with your colleagues and create a welcoming, comfortable work environment that people are happy to spend time in.

If you want to show empathy towards others at work, here are 4 ways to get started.

Practice Self-Awareness

To change any behavior, you first need to develop your level of self-awareness. Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge and acknowledgment of one’s behavior, opinions, actions, and feelings.

You might not even be aware that you lack empathy towards others at work until something specific happens. Regardless of what encourages this change, it’s an important part of improving your emotional intelligence and connection with others.

To enhance your self-awareness, there are many things you can do. Keeping a journal is a great way to track your thought process and see how you process the situations that take place from day to day. Putting it on paper lets you study your thought patterns objectively and see them from a different perspective. Doing so allows you to then make the necessary adjustments so you can become a better empathizer. 

Ask Questions

To show empathy also means to show genuine interest in the other person and the conversation you’re having. Asking meaningful questions can help the other person open up to you and make them feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.

When people feel like others aren’t interested in what they have to say, it can cause them to shut down. If there’s an issue in the office that needs a solution, failing to show empathy can prolong the process and even make it worse.

To get to the bottom of the issue, ask questions about what happened and why the person feels the way they do. There might be an issue with a project or another coworker, but you won’t know until you communicate with your team.

Become an Active Listener

Have you noticed that you cut people off while they’re speaking to make your own points? This is just one example of poor communication where one person tries to express themselves and the other fails to understand their point of view.

Poor listening skills leads to poor empathy because it hinders you from understanding the other person. Active listening is a huge component of healthy communication that resolves conflicts and solves problems, especially at work.

To become an active listener, you need to let the other party say their piece before you respond. Listen to understand rather than reply and you’ll learn a lot more about them and enhance your ability to empathize.  

Improve Nonverbal Communication

When having a conversation, do you notice how your body language plays a huge role in how it goes? When you’re closed off or uninterested in what another person is saying, it shows through your behavior in more ways than one.

Some examples of nonverbal communication include:

  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Posture
  • Eye contact
  • Touch
  • Tone of voice

All of these things play a crucial part in how someone perceives you during a conversation. When you reach out with cues that signal you’re open and willing to receive the other person’s perspective, it creates a much easier, comfortable conversation.

Back to You

Showing empathy for others at work is a game-changer for building healthy relationships, expediting work processes, and creating a comfortable work environment. How will you show empathy towards others in the workplace?