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5 tips to boost empathy in the workplace

Do you have the best processes in place? The best product? And the best marketing? But struggling to keep your business going because you consistently have to train new employees? Then you may need to consider how empathic you are. Many employees are looking for companies that show care and consideration towards their employees. Your customers may also be looking for a more empathetic supplier.

Firstly, what is empathy? It is the ability to recognise emotions in other people and to understand another person’s perspective on a situation. According to, empathy has three stages namely:

  • Cognitive empathy is the ability to recognise the emotional state of someone.
  • Emotional empathy is being able to engage and share in those emotions.
  • Compassionate empathy is taking action to support the other person.

Many people have cognitive empathy but few can engage or take action to support someone when they have recognised the emotion. So how do you boost empathy in the workplace?

1. Be a good listener

The first step is to actively listen to the person speaking to you. Don’t only listen to the words they are saying but listen to the tone of their voice and what their body language is telling you about how they are feeling. You should ensure that people can contact you through various platforms like WhatsApp, email, Teams, Slack or phone as this is another element of being a good listener being accessible. Besides listening actively, you must be completely present. Remove as many distractions as possible when you are listening.

2. Understand the speaker’s perspective

It’s important to try to relate to the issue or problem from the speaker’s perspective. You may also want to consider how you would react if the same issue or problem happened to you and how you would like the other person to react to what you had said. You need to show them compassion especially if they have shared something which is personal.

3. Ask questions

Once you have listened, it is important to ask specific questions about the problem they are having and don’t offer blanket solutions. You should also ask them how they would like to see the problem resolved.

4. Be sincere

It is critical throughout your interaction with someone that you are sincere. If you are insincere, people will see through it and won’t trust you in the future.

5. Take action

When a resolution to the issue has been reached, it is important to take the appropriate action. This will help to build trust as the speaker will see your genuine care and that you are willing to do something to help them in their situation or to celebrate their achievements.

By following these five tips you will be able to boost empathy in your workplace but we need to acknowledge that building empathy is a learned skill and it takes time to develop.

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