Managing with Empathy

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  -Maya Angelou

Understanding Empathy and the role it plays in the workplace is not easy…it’s often a misinterpreted term to begin with.  People may think that it involves “understanding” how others feel but the understanding is an intellectual function.  Empathy involves emotion or feeling.  It is about relating to another’s situation through feeling their pain or frustration.  The ability to empathize with others is the ability to relate to them and relationships exist in our lives both personally and professionally.

Empathy in Corporate America is a rare occurrence to say the least.  We are driven by the bottom line and by intellect.  However, Empathy can lead the way back to honoring the human component of emotion in the workplace.  It serves to connect people and to establish support and teamwork.  As a manager or leader in your organization, be a model of wholeness for your team.  When your workplace environment is emotionally sterile, it actually costs the company in by-products such as poor performance, poor retention, burnout and absenteeism.  While Empathy will not correct all of these issues, it can go a long way toward uniting people and when people feel connected, they tend to work happier and harder.

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