World Leaders, Innovators and the greatest thinkers of today’s times have hailed empathy as a wow factor and now the world is giving empathy all the credit it deserves. Soft Skills have been the focus of attention since the dawning of the 21st Century. As technology advances at an incredible pace, the entire world now focuses on soft skills. This skill has proven to be revolutionary. These four Cs have changed not only workplace dynamics, but individual narratives as well.
The not so new but now extremely honoured member in the team of must-have skill sets is Empathy. According to the Encyclopaedia of Social Psychology, “Empathy is often defined as understanding another person’s experience by imagining oneself in that other person’s situation.”
When one is talking about empathy, the term sympathy often pops up in the conversation. Sympathy refers to the feeling of being moved or experiencing a surge of emotion because of someone or something. Empathy helps an individual to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. This helps you to be there for the pain and not leave.
Shreeya Panda, Head, Business Development, Jagarmanacha Excellence Centre, Maharashtra, works with many youngsters to help them build their lives. Shreeya explains empathy beautifully. “Holistic growth is never ‘alone’ it’s always coming in ‘collective’ sense. According to my, Empathy is getting into the shoes of the other person and thinking about the situation and see things from their perspective.”
Research backs empathy
Research shows that empathy is a key ingredient for establishing strong professional bonds as well as maintaining healthy and harmonious personal relationships. Emotional intelligence is also a key component of mental health professionals and psychologists. Their findings show that individuals with higher levels of empathy have a greater chance to be successful in their daily lives, have stronger relationships, have better social connections, and to have happier personal relationships. Empathy can be described as the ability to look at the world from the perspective of someone else. Treating people as you would like to be treated is the golden rule.
The golden rule is to treat people the way you want them treated. Like Harper Lee, author of the bestselling book, To Kill a Mockingbird puts it, “Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?”
How Do We Empathize?
Sucheta Gauba founder, an apparel brand that encourages sustainability, has a personal story to share. “I truly believe every garment has a story and that hands and souls are putting together a piece of happiness and pure joy. Although how lovely one feels depends on what it is, empathy toward the person wearing and making it is the most important thing. The movement who made my clothes in the sustainable fashion industry is an inspiration how empathy is the focal point around which every garment’s story is written.” I remember on the 17th day (I started working at 17) of my journey as an entrepreneur my dad told me, “If you want happiness in your work, you ought to keep people around you happy,” she adds.
“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” – Susan Sarandon
Here are a few signs you are an empathic person:
- You care deeply about other people.
- Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by social situations.
- You are able to sense how others feel.
- Your ability to feel the emotions and thoughts of people around you is a gift that makes you a valued person.
- Your advice and counsel are sought by many.
- Patient listener.
- Your goal is to help others in need.
We need more compassionate people. It is not enough to have intelligent people.
Here is how to make empathy work as a catalyst for your Business:
Make Empathy your middle name
An organization that humanizes and does not just monetize its relationship with its clients, makes a lasting impact. You can make your clients feel valued, heard, and loved. You can use social media to make your brand visible and build empathy with potential clients.
Empower your Manpower
Let your team ideate more often. Our teams often have better relationships with our customers than us and can connect on an emotional level to them more frequently. They might be able to generate revenue and results through their ideas. You should encourage, empower and empathise your team members to voice their views and opinions. You should give them all the support they require to succeed. When an employee knows a manager or their boss has their back… they will take that leap.
Because it is just not a Cause
The customers today are informed netizens who are sensitive to global issues. These customers are independent thinkers and share their opinions on social media. When customers are able to see brands supporting an issue or drawing attention to a problem, it is easier for them and their families connect. For example. When Brands like Reebok, L’Oréal, P&G and Netflix supported the cause ‘Black Lives Matter’, they gained tremendous traction and love from netizens.
Reflect and Re-analyse
Reflection plays a pivotal role in developing empathy. It is when a group sits down together to reflect on the methods and determine what was successful. Every member gets an opportunity to witness things from the other person’s perspective. Empathy for other people is essential to objective reflection. Positive action is built on empathy.
Satya Nadella says it the best, “Empathy makes you a better innovator. If I look at the most successful products, we [at Microsoft] have created, it comes with that ability to meet the unmet, unarticulated needs of customers.”