Recently talk about the need to be more EMPATHETIC at work has been increasing exponentially. More & more people on the ground i.e. actually working in organisations, GET this BUT struggle with the ‘How To’
And this is because Empathy is a 2 – Step Process:
Step 1️⃣ – FEEL EMPATHY – Understand the experience and feelings of another person
– be it a colleague, boss, partner, customer…
Step 2️⃣ – EXPRESS EMPATHY – Let them know that
– and stay professional at the same time
Many times, Step 1 happens ✅ – truly we understand their pain ?
And then the struggle is at Step 2 – how do I EXPRESS my empathy?
❌ without hurting them
❌ without seeming unprofessional
❌ without being the same room as them
❌ without having a solution for them
This is a skill we need to build.
And it can be built if we:
✅ Are willing to take a chance and reach out – even if we know it could be awkward
– Take a chance – more often than not, they will appreciate the effort
✅ Be conscious of your language – whether in an email, over the phone, or in-person
– Make sure your language shows respect and not pity (SUPER IMPORTANT)
✅ Know that empathy can be expressed well over emails, chat, video conferences, phone calls AND in-person
– Use whatever means you have access to
✅ Are willing to hold off on advice
– Reign in your desire to find a solution for them – unless they ask for it. Start with simply being there for them.
So, which Step do YOU struggle with? For me it was definitely Step 2