Why do we care about empathy?

Empathy in the workplace … the human communication connection

Empathy has become a kind of new workplace buzzword, even though it certainly has been in existence for a very long time. Empathy is not sympathy. When a team member empathizes with a customer, it simply means that person can understand what the customer needs, perhaps even understanding the customer’s underlying frustrations or desires.

As reported in Forbes magazine, a recent workplace survey found that “87% of CEOs see a direct link between workplace empathy and business performance, productivity, retention and general business health.

Electronic devices are distractions that demand our attention, almost addictively. Electronic communications mute the ability to read emotions, to sense frustration, and to empathize with another person. In fact, quite often, electronic communications exacerbate the situation by creating miscommunication and unnecessarily hurt feelings, even in the workplace.

How can human communications help team members develop a better sense of empathy with customers and with co-workers? In a face-to-face conversation, with cell phones out of sight and out of mind, we are able to focus intently on the customer or co-worker who needs our attention – and who needs our empathy in that moment. The ability to actively listen and to develop focused responses, from one human to another, is crucial to enhancing empathy in the workplace.

Human communication enables empathy. That empathy may just become the difference in your business health.

Put it down. Look up. Focus on the other human in the room with you. Have a real conversation. Let me know how it goes.

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