Use Empathy Effectively

Posted on February 1, 2002
The most effective managers are those who have the ability to empathize with their employees. This means identifying with and understanding their feelings, which is not always easy to do. Here are some tips for putting empathy into action in your workplace: 1. Wait, don’t take action: Before writing a memo, sending an e-mail or making an announcement, stop and put yourself in your employees’ position. Think about how you would want the situation presented to you. Don’t allow your busy schedule to displace your ability to empathize. 2. Remember what it was like: If you can’t imagine how others might respond, try to remember what it was like in your own shoes years ago. How did you feel when the boss announced changes to the operation? What could have been done differently? By listening to your own answers, you’ll come up with smart ways to communicate with your staff. 3. Get some feedback: It’s always a good idea to get additional input. Talk to coworkers to brainstorm ideas or run a memo past them before sending it out. Even if you have pretty much decided what to do, share your plan with one or two other people for a final reality check. 4. Take your time: Unfortunately, empathy is not always efficient. It can take time to weigh people’s concerns, reflect on their feelings and get input from others. But this investment will come back to you in the form of improved employee retention and morale. Source: Tom Terez, 22 Keys to Creating a Meaningful Workplace.
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