Strengthen your empathy
You need to show empathy more than ever given the current situation. Being together, even while distant, means seeing things from the other person’s point of view and making an effort to understand how they feel. But sometimes you might find yourself feeling helpless, disengaged, or even irritated by what they’re going through. Could you be lacking empathy?
You may not be going through the same thing as your employees at the same time, but certainly you have felt sorrow, pain, anger, anxiety, joy, love. Empathy is more about sharing an emotion than about a specific experience. That’s the first step to take if you want to help (and be helped). Here are some other tips:
- Listen without judging. Yes, it can be difficult at times!
- Understand the other person’s point of view by trying to put yourself in their place;
- At least once a week, make an effort to chat with people who are not part of your circle or who don’t share your interests;
- Start conversations by staying curious – this will make you less judgmental;
- Be open with others if you are having difficulty putting yourself in their shoes. Such frankness will always go down better than a feeble “that must be tough.”
At the same time, make sure that you don’t take on other people’s emotional loads – you won’t be any help to them if you do.
by Emma Pattee (The New York Times, 4 October 2020).
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