Empathy is a truly beautiful experience of the human condition. While we all might have a cognitive understanding of other people it is important to develop an empathetic understanding as well. This means, when someone is struggling with personal difficulties or having a difficult time mentally and emotionally we can all imagine what that feels like because we too have experienced it at some point. If we can remind ourselves of those feelings and respond to them keeping those feelings in mind we can begin to fill the empathy void in today’s world. Without a sense of empathy, we will not be able to truly feel connected to one another.
In our workplaces today we are not encouraged to explore or express our emotions openly. This has led to a culture where we interact with our colleagues on a superficial level. This has led to an empathy void in the workplace which hampers not only self-growth but also the growth of a healthy and supportive work environment.
How to be more Empathic at the Workplace
Get in touch with your empathic self: The first thing that we need to do it get in touch with our own emotions. If we cannot even express or acknowledge our own feelings we will not be able to be empathetic to those around us. Learning to respond to your own critical voice with empathetic understanding is the first step in being able to be empathetic to others.
Meditation: Taking some quiet time for yourself can really help boost your empathy. When we are recharged and rejuvenated then we are able to give more and feel more. Take short breaks of a few minutes and cultivate the habit of mindfulness and meditation and you will find yourself being a more empathic human being.
Recognize the personal as well as the professional: We are taught to completely separate the person from the professional and this distinction can be harmful if taken to the extreme. We must be able to recognize that even though we might be in a professional space we are all just people with struggles we are trying to overcome.
Create safe spaces: It is very important to create an environment of safety in the workplace. When the environment feels safe people will automatically feel more comfortable in expressing their vulnerabilities.
Be open to asking and receiving help: Do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. This creates an opportunity for others to practice empathy towards you and also shows them that they can ask for help when they need to.
We often overlook empathy as a skill that we require in the workplace but it is actually a key ingredient in creating a happy, healthy work environment that we all want to be a part of. If we do not respond to missed deadlines or our sick colleagues with empathy we will create an environment of misunderstanding and unhappiness which will eventually corrode our own work as well.