The Importance of Empathy in the Workplace

The need to build strong relationships in the workplace has never been so important as it is during these trying times. With the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, businesses have been forced to adjust their operations to fit the new normal, integrating more technology into their processes. These events and more have made building and maintaining relationships in the workplace key in defining a business environment (both mental and physical) and performance.

One of the prominent determinants of a good relationship is effective communication. One of the prominent determinants of effective communication is communication encapsulated in empathy.

What is Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand people’s feelings, emotions, needs, wants, and perspectives without necessarily having their experience.

Why we need Empathy in the Workplace

The need to be empathic in the current workplace is numerous. This article wraps all in one- Effective communication.

As earlier stated, a productive workplace is a workplace thriving on effective communication across board. The workplace is all about people. Unfortunately, people are thought to mostly bring their professional selves to the office. We sometimes try to hide our feelings and emotions because of the need to act in a professional manner. This practice, although builds and preserves good professional ethics amongst people in an organisation, tends to hide people’s full self.

Someone who is going through some relationship challenges comes to work acting like all is well just because the corporate environment demands so. It takes an empathic approach to communication to decode when someone at the office isn’t all good but acting good.

The need to develop empathic communication skills isn’t just a requirement for organisational leaders, rather, it is a necessity for all.

By developing emotional intelligence and developing empathy, decision-makers can have better insight into how critical decisions will impact others. As organisations embark on drastic changes for better performance, empathy will allow leaders to understand how their teams perceive these changes, thus helping management design tailored change management processes.

By engaging empathically, employees will be able to understand the stakes from a leadership or an employer perspective, thereby giving room for better cooperation and adoption of new processes by employees.

To ultimately build trust and loyalty, organisations need to develop a culture of communication that encourages empathy.

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