We don't often think of empathy as being a characteristic of the American workplace. But leaders who are kind and empathetic -- who truly care about the people who work for them -- are some of the most effective managers out there, inspiring others and naturally drawing people to their side.
A leader who displays empathy is better equipped to connect with others and understand their perspectives. In turn, they are able to call on these relationships for support when they need it.
Jayson Boyers, vice president of continuing professional studies at Champlain College, goes so far as to argue that empathy is the single strongest force that moves businesses forward.
Momentous Institute, a leading provider of education and therapeutic services to children and families, released findings today revealing that students who learned to show empathy toward others experienced improved reading and math skills. '
These findings are a result of a students' long-term exposure to social and emotional health strategies that focus on mindful awareness, empathy, and perspective-taking with applied exercises (e.g. regularly scheduled brain breaks and volunteering in the community).
"This study links social and emotional health with improved academics,"
said Michelle Kinder, Executive Director of Momentous Institute. "It's hard to find someone against social emotional health, but plenty people still think of it as fluff.
We have seen for a long time that attending to social emotional health prepares children for learning. This research now demonstrates that a strong focus on social and emotional health can make a meaningful difference in a child's academic performance."
Student field trips to live theater productions can lead to greater tolerance and empathy as well as increased vocabulary and enhanced knowledge of the plot, according to new research by the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform...
Two years ago, they found significant benefits in the form of knowledge, future cultural consumption, tolerance, historical empathy and critical thinking for students who had been assigned to visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas...
To determine whether live theater increases students’ ability to empathize, researchers administered the youth version of the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, which was initially developed for research on autism...
A founding faculty member of London's The School of Life, and Greater Good contributing writer, Roman Krznaric has traveled the world researching and lecturing on the subject of empathy.
In his new book, Empathy: Why It Matters and How to Get It, Krznaric argues that our brains are wired for social connection and that empathy, not apathy or self-centeredness, is at the heart of who we are.
Informed by powerful examples from the worlds of art and design, medicine and humanitarianism, neuroscience, and more, Krznaric presents six habits of highly empathetic people in the book which anyone can emulate in order to make themselves, and the world, more truly fulfilled.
"Where would humanity be without empathy? Our lives would be disconnected, our societies would fall apart. Growing planetary integration calls for us to pay more attention to this ancient mammalian capacity, and Roman Krznaric is our expert guide to explain how it works and how to fix the deficit that faces humanity today." -- Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy
Are you a Caregiver? Do you nurse, work in a hospice or care for others who need your assistance? There is a 25% discount for caregivers. Enter CAREGIVER as the code and indicate the institution where you work.
The act of empathy feels sacred to me, it is holding space for others to unfold. All humans are empathic, if they don’t demonstrate it it’s because they have learned to shut it down.
The only way to open them up again is to create safe spaces for them to step into. Everyone has the means within themselves to overcome what ever they are facing. All this week I have witnessed people coming to a place of calm and finding that they already have the answers they seek. To me it feels like magic because what is required of me is actually very little, as though I’m just standing next to them while they fumble with their keys and open the door. They just need to feel safe enough to trust what they already know.
Affluent children need to learn a fuller picture of what it means to be human.
Can We Empathize with the Wealthy?
It’s tempting to roll our eyes when we think about the emotional problems of the wealthy. First World problems, we may scoff. Yet to do so is to ignore a real social challenge.
We live in a time of an increasing divide between the very wealthy and the rest of us. The opportunities for envy and projection increase as the divide does. As one psychiatrist observes: " For most of us, empathy directed toward the less fortunate comes easily. But ultimately empathy must transcend economic class. If we cannot approach the wealthy with empathy about their situation and unique problems, we cannot engage them in constructive conversation about this divide. Their isolation and exclusion from the dialogue will only add to polarization and hostility."
How do we encourage empathy and a curiosity about the world in the children of the wealthy?
This is the third installment in a series my colleagues and I are writing on the five practices of entrepreneurship. In the last installment Patricia Greene talked about the Practice of Play.
Now it’s time to address the second practice – The Practice of Empathy.
Entrepreneurs must develop their practice of empathy in order to connect with stakeholders in more meaningful and authentic ways to identify unmet needs—the antecedent of new products, services, and organizations.
The role of empathy has been popularized in human-centered design where desirability (what do people need?) is the starting point rather than feasibility (can it be done?) or viability (can we make money doing it?). Feasibility and viability tend to be the popular starting points in business schools.
In his award-winning book, "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction," Dr. Gabor Maté explains the origins of addiction as being rooted in trauma and calls for a more compassionate approach toward the addict.
Maté spoke with CBS News for the #14Days series. He says, "All addiction is an escape from pain. All addictions come from emotional loss, and exist to soothe the pain resulting from that loss."
Maté explains how early neglect or abuse affects a child's brain development, in particular the system of self-soothing brain chemicals (such as endorphins and serotonin) that help make up a healthy human being.
The neurochemistry of the brain is affected by the environment in early childhood development, and Maté says, "We know that the majority of chronically hardcore substance-dependent adults lived, as infants and children, under conditions of severe adversity... Their predisposition to addiction was programmed in their early years. Their brains never had a chance."
In front of us sits Ideo’s first stab at a solution called the Creative Listening Toolkit, a vibrant collection of paper pamphlets that have been illustrated with a Sharpie.
Each is labeled with words like Intuition, Interpretation, and Inspiration, like a collection of workouts to develop what Dust calls "better listening muscles." With better listening muscles, we will not just have the ability to be more sensitive or recall what someone has said, but to mine and apply their thoughts to our own lives and projects, he says.
For Ideo, the Toolkit serves a practical purpose.
It enables Ideo researchers, who perform countless interviews, to discover meaningful threads that inform a client’s experiences and products.
Whether we’re watching a Shakespearean tragedy or a seasonal morality tale, going to the theatre makes us more empathetic.
At least, that’s according to a new study from the University of Arkansas.
As Psych Central reports, researchers studied the impact on school students of going to see live productions of Hamlet and A Christmas Carol. They recruited 670 students aged 12-17 and sent some to see the plays while others just read them or watched a film adaptation.
Once the go-to explanation for empathy, the evidence that we have them is sketchy at best.
In 1992, scientists at Italy’s University of Parma announced the genuinely exciting discovery that certain neurons in the premotor cortex of macaques fire under two quite different conditions: when the monkeys execute a specific action like reaching for food and when they merely observe an experimenter performing that action. Until then, the textbook wisdom in neuroscience had been that brain cells execute an action or observe one—not both.
The Parma find seemed to show that “cells in the motor system fire when I see you make a movement, and they’re the same ones that fire when I make that movement,” according to neuroscientist Marco Iacoboni of the University of California, Los Angeles. “We didn’t think the brain was organized this way.”
In 1996, these cells got their intriguing moniker, reflecting that the neurons “mirrored” observed behavior by firing as if the observer were not just seeing the action but also executing it.
Toddlers who don’t feel guilty after bad behavior or who are less affectionate or less responsive to affection may be at risk for greater behavior problems by the time they enter first grade, according to a new study by the University of Michigan..
Finally, if children were reported as having “callous and unemotional behavior,” they were found to experience less empathy, guilt and moral regulation of their behavior.
Children with the highest ratings of these kinds of behaviors were more likely to show this behavior during first grade and were also more likely to have continued behavior problems according to their teachers.
“Who Cares?” is a thought-provoking gathering for young people aged 14 to 19 to interact with leading thinkers, scientists and changemakers to make up their minds on the role of empathy and compassion in society.
Young people are also introduced to the importance of taking care of themselves, as the first step to taking care for others, and given practical tools to make compassion a force for positive change in their lives.
This day-long seminar led by self-compassion pioneer Kristin Neff, will offer strategies for cultivating self-compassion, boosting happiness, and reducing stress in yourself and others.
Self-compassion is a skill that can be learned by anyone. It involves generating feelings of kindness and care toward ourselves as imperfect human beings, and learning to be present with greater ease during life's inevitable struggles. It is an antidote to harsh self-criticism, making us feel connected to others when we suffer, rather than feeling isolated and alienated. Unlike self-esteem, the good feelings of self-compassion do not depend on being special and better than other people; instead, they come from caring about ourselves and embracing our commonalities.
Compassion Week is an initiative of the Charter for Compassion, Stanford University's CCARE, Tenzin Gyatso Institute, and Dignity Health that calls on the City of San Francisco and the State of California to make compassion a guiding principle for their businesses and public services.
The events are:
The 2nd Science of Compassion Conference, Nov 10 - 11 (Ft Mason Center)
The Inaugural Compassion and Healthcare Conference, Nov 12 (Ft Mason Center)
The 3rd Empathy & Compassion in Society: Compassion at Work Nov 13 - 14 (Ft Mason Center)
Charter for Compassion Day, Nov 15 (Fort Mason Center, SF)
Living Compassionately Retreat, Nov 15 - 16 (Li Ka Shing Center, Stanford University) More Info
Additionally, a Youth Gathering will be held Nov. 12, at Ft. Mason's Golden Gate room. Sponsored by Mind with Heart, The Charter for Compassion, the Tenzin Gyatso Institute and several other charities, this event is for teens.
CEUs now available to nurses, MFTs and LCSWs. Caregivers receive a 25% discount upon registration to Empathy and Compassion in Society.
For marketing to practice listening and empathy, there are three basic human-centered principles to keep in mind:
Focus on human insights. While sales-centric intelligence and business insights are important, companies cannot lose sight of the growing importance of gaining human-centered insights. This is especially true when you consider the growing trend of 65% or more of executives relying on subjective human factors in making critical decisions. If your research and buyer personas are not accounting for human factors and insights, then they are not providing you with the human-centered understanding needed for buyer personas to be effective.
Understand immersion. Business today must not only look at the outside world of customers, they must become immersed in this world. The status quo based on assumptions mentioned above prevents many organizations from opening up avenues for immersive experiences. Immersion calls for new means of research and understanding the use of customer ethnography.
A new business paradigm, in which management aims to to foster a better world, is rapidly taking hold.
McGrath posits that there have been three thematic ages of management since the industrial revolution: execution, expertise, and now, empathy.
She says, "If organizations existed in the execution era to create scale and in the expertise era to provide advanced services, today many are looking to organizations to create complete and meaningful experience. I would argue that management has entered a new era of empathy."
From human-centered design to the lean startup approach, methods to develop innovative products and services emphasize the importance of understanding what customers really need. Here are some lessons in innovation that social entrepreneurs have learned from empathizing with their customers:
Don’t let technology take the wheel: “
I used to think that the problem lies in technology. What we realized eventually was that the problem does not merely lie in the technology, but the psychology,” says Ashoka Fellow Swapnil Chaturvedi in a recent video on his work...
If you were asked to rank in order of importance academic achievement, happiness, and care for others as priorities for our young people today, how would you respond?
If you’re like most parents and teachers in the U.S., you would place the highest importance on care for others—a very worthy choice and one that science suggests can actually increase the other two outcomes.
Yet, a recent U.S. survey of 10,000 middle and high school students conducted by Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project revealed that students believe their parents and teachers prioritize academic achievement and happiness over caring.
Zak's lecture, "The Moral Molecule: Vampire Economics the New Science of Good and Evil," will focus on his discovery that the hormone oxytocin influences trust, empathy and generosity in both men and women.
"Once we showed oxytocin responded to people trusting each other and motivated reciprocity, then we began a sort of longer term study to see how much oxytocin tells us about these positive social behaviors we call moral behaviors," he explained.
"Oxytocin works to increase our sense of emotional connection or empathy to others. It really enhances our social skills."
Scientific evidence shows that we can teach our brains to feel more compassion, both for others and ourselves. Imagine how the world might be...
With practice, it’s thought that compassion can be enhanced and this will increase the likelihood of a person exhibiting helping behavior--not only during the meditation practice, but out in the real world, when interacting with others.
In a study my colleagues and I conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (directed by Dr. Richard J. Davidson), participants were taught to generate compassion for different categories of people, including both those they love and “difficult” people in their lives. Doing these kinds of exercises is a little like weight training--the compassion “muscle” is strengthened by practicing with people of increasing difficulty, like increasing weights over time.