What is an interactive business without empathy? What is a business team without an understanding of the employees’ sentiments? What is an organization serving people’s needs without an actual acknowledgement of their needs? What is a company without an understanding of how their service will actually benefit people and their well being?
A business without empathetic traits is a hollow one. Why? Because empathy is a characteristic that most successful businesses inherently require.
A business that demonstrates the capacity to see things from the point of view of the consumer, to put themselves in the consumer’s shoes, is a multidimensional business, a business that can get an accurate idea of consumer’s needs.
Moreover, an “empathetic business” is already putting themselves in a place for success by just genuinely caring for the consumer in this way.
"If you have no ability to empathize, then it’s difficult to give people feedback, and it’s difficult to help people improve. Everything becomes harder,"said Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder and chief executive of Slack.
When we talk about the qualities we want in people, empathy is a big one.
If you can empathize with people, then you can do a good job. If you have no ability to empathize, then it’s difficult to give people feedback, and it’s difficult to help people improve. Everything becomes harder.
One way that empathy manifests itself is courtesy.
Differentiated customer experiences can’t be created without an emotionally intelligent approach on the part of the business. Rhonda Basler, Customer Engagement Director for Hallmark Business Connections, shares practical tips to foster empathy in frontline employees.
Empathetic leaders share an intuitive sense for what’s going on in the world that helps them identify new opportunities faster than their competitors. They get people to care about their vision by making it a shared vision.
They start by tapping into the psychology of their target audience, seeking their feedback, and scanning for changes in thought or behavior.
When you go a step beyond just hearing words to actively listening to customers, suppliers and employees, your firm will gain a gigantic advantage in creating products that will be in demand.
As leaders, we need to make emotional connections with our target audience if we hope to influence their thoughts and actions. One very important way to connect positively with people is with what I call powerful empathy....
Here are eight key empathy skills you can practice to improve your ability to connect with others:
Curiosity: Take the time to be curious about what other people think. Try to fully understand their point of view.
“Empathy as a complex emotion is different. It requires awareness of the other person’s feelings and of one’s own reactions. The appropriate reaction may not be to cry when another person cries, but to reassure them, or even to leave them alone.” (Preston, de Waal)
Empathy is more than just seeing the world from the customers’ perspective. It is having the emotional intelligence to choose the right emotional response from a range of potential emotions to improve things for the customer.
Often, organisations believe that Empathy as a soft skill is the preserve of customer-facing staff. Yet Empathy for the customer as a core organisational capability is as relevant for Marketing, HR and the leadership as it is for those who directly serve customers.
Being able to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and seeing the world from their perspective is essential for proposition development, innovation and effective strategizing. In fact, it is a source of customer advantage that most organisations completely fail to embrace.
Empathy used to sound to me like a weak word associated with touchy-feely concepts. But in recent years, I have come to understand that it is actually an incredibly powerful concept. If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things …
6 Reasons Empathetic Thinking Is Powerful for Leaders
It puts you into “Seek First to Understand” mode....
Most people never listen, so people will notice the difference if you do. Ernest Hemingway said it well. ....
It allows people to connect emotionally, so they can actually listen to your logic. “We are not thinking machines,” George Washington University neurology professor Richard Restak argues. ....
Empathy kicks you out of self-absorption..... Relating with empathy involves recognizing and treating others as equals, and to validate that they are people, too, fully experiencing events in their own way.
Your empathetic thinking makes your audience more receptive to being influenced by you. Mirror neurons cause your audience to have the same brain activity based on your actions, thoughts, and feelings. ....
Empathy moves you toward mutuality. Research psychologist David Burnham says that mutuality leads to actions that demonstrate emotional intelligence, which leads to higher levels of employee engagement and morale.
Maybe you were attracted to HR because you like helping people. Maybe you still get the warm fuzzies when you help solve problems or ease employees’ pain.
But does your instinct to empathize with employee suffering also trigger vicarious pain in you?
“There’s a downside to empathy when it comes to the suffering of others,” says Olga Klimecki, a researcher and the lead author of a study on empathy in the journal Cerebral Cortex. “When we share the suffering of others too much, our negative emotions increase. It carries the danger of an emotional burnout.”
The benefits of amplifying empathy For companies focusing on improving customer experience, a vital component is making sure the business and your employees really understand the customer journey. It’s not just about what happens when, but how customers feel along the way. In a 2014 report, Temkin Group highlighted the importance of increasing organizational empathy towards customers, and targeted one of their “25 tips” on using text analytics to uncover pain points.
As an example, the report featured a success story from computer data storage company EMC. The company’s existing customer satisfaction measurement tools showed their logistical spare-parts program was working well. But using text analytics, they were able to dive deeper and categorize customer feedback, which revealed that program time delays were making customers unhappy. With such targeted insight, the business was able to make improvements that really matter to customers.
Can you empathize with those who work for you, around you and those you report to?
While many leaders, particularly those who might be labeled the ‘command and control’ type seem to think that empathy is a negative; I think that it is an important habit for any Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) or compliance practitioner to not only practice but also master.
Recently there were a couple of articles in the New York Times (NYT) that discussed this character trait and I found them useful to consider for the leadership toolkit of the CCO or compliance profession.
Earlier in the day, talking about the continuing need to be creative, Evan believes ‘fun’ and ‘empathy’ are two core values which enable his business to move forwards in the right way.
‘We get into groups of ten people to talk about how we feel,’ he said. ‘It’s about empathy and trying to understand the world through other people’s perspectives.
‘It’s about the importance of listening. We don’t do that enough. Sometimes I’m so focused on what I’m going to say next, that I’m not listening. I’m really involved in that.’ Evan has a refreshing approach to running the company, now worth $19 billion and employing 450 people, (last year, the number stood at ten).
‘A key value for me, is about having fun or being playful. Everyone’s so serious in technology.’
And while one might believe his job means he is kept wide awake at night, Evan disputes this and says there are only two things that might get in the way.
The work, led by Robert Eres from the University's School of Psychological Sciences, pinpointed correlations between grey matter density and cognitive and affective empathy.
The study looked at whether people who have more brain cells in certain areas of the brain are better at different types of empathy.
"People who are high on affective empathy are often those who get quite fearful when watching a scary movie, or start crying during a sad scene. Those who have high cognitive empathy are those who are more rational, for example a clinical psychologist counselling a client,"
Empathy, or the ability to experience and align with the thoughts/emotions/experiences of others, is what Annie McKee (author of Primal Leadership) believes is a fundamental construct to leadership. As she explains:
Empathy is a competency that allows you to read people…This isn’t as easy as it seems. Sometimes, the smartest resisters often look like supporters, but they’re not supportive at all. They’re smart, sneaky idea-killers...
Empathy is what separates a good leader from a great leader. Great leaders need empathy in order to show their people that they care for their wants, needs, and development
It’s no secret that the “softer” personality traits aren’t as valued in organizations. Empathy, self-reflection, and goodwill take the backseat to efficiency, results, and profits. What would you say if I told you that fostering the former skills would actually improve the latter?
Jane Dutton, one of the founders of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship and University of Michigan Roth School of Business, has been studying and researching compassion in the workplace. Her research shows that when you train in mindfulness, it has an immediate impact on the quality of your relationships with your colleagues.
Empathy, as it’s been talked about recently, is most often framed as something important to practice for our users. It’s important to make sure we’re helping our users get the content they desire or get through the flow of our site to do what’s important to them.
What is getting lost, though, is that empathy is just as important for us to practice as we interact with our team members—all of us, developers, designers, writers, and project managers, can practice empathy as we work with our teammates.
Empathy is just as much about our interactions with each other while we build our sites, as it is about how we treat our users.
As I’ve thought more about this, I’ve come up with a few ways to practice empathy with my teammates.
People don’t know what they want, we have to understand them, not ask them! Leading with empathy is not a reactive process, but rather pro-active. To understand this lets look at the style of management, it’s totally reactive and expects you to do what you were told to do.
If you fail, the manager reacts and often the manager actually notices that you are about to fail and allows you to fail. Then they react even more and the working environment becomes even more toxic.
Empathy is a vital component for corporate tweeting. "In our view, empathy consists of three components: reassurance, authenticity and emotional connection. Empathy goes beyond simply solving a problem. It involves making a customer feel valued," the HBR study noted.
Why companies like Starbucks are ranked so low on Twitter?
The reason behind this may be because inquiries at Starbucks Twitter account are responded by a presumed bot that simply provides users an e-mail address, idigitaltimes.com reported.
These companies need to spruce up their social media strategies, the report concluded.
As you probably already know, yawns are contagious. Right now, the image below is causing many of you to feel the need to yawn. This even works with animals. A study by the University of London observed that 21 of 29 dogs yawned when a stranger yawned in front of them.
Why? The answer is in what science refers to as “mirror neurons” or “empathy neurons.”
As a result of mirror neurons, we literally mirror each other in corresponding regions of our brain. If a scientist hooked the two of us up to a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, when I yawn, the same regions of the brain would light up in both of us.
Mirror neurons don’t just involve actions like yawning. They affect thoughts and feelings as well.
For leaders, this is huge. Understanding this is one of the keys that separate a traditional leader from a 21st century engager.
While the idea has previous been labeled "touchy-feely" and quickly discarded, creating an emotionally positive work culture can boast big benefits for both customers and employees, according to a new study from researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the George Mason University School of Business.
They found a clear, positive correlation between compassionate behavior, work satisfaction and company success. Their results were recently published in the journal Administrative Science Quarterly.
In the study, researchers Sigal Barsade and Olivia O’Neill focused on exploring the idea of a compassionate love culture, which they describe as the following in their report:
In the medical industry, there is no underestimating the need for empathy from your staff. With patient care as a prime directive, employees in healthcare need to provide a sense of care and understanding to what are essentially their customers. But how do you know whether or not a job candidate boasts empathy as a soft skill?
What follows are a few strategies for detecting an empathic nature within the candidates for a position in the healthcare industry.
The Interview is the Best Place to screen for Empathy
The Lady Geek Empathy Index lists the ten companies best at using the 140-character medium to their advantage by creating an emotional connection; reassuring their customers, investors and employees; and doing it all with an authentic voice.
The research analysed 350,000 tweets across 300 companies listed on the NASDAQ, NYSE and FTSE 100. It found that the most empathic companies replied to customers using evocative language and emoticons while displaying personality and a sense of humour.
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