In a previous entry, we wrote on hard and soft skills that are valuable for succeeding at work. Empathy is one of the most important soft skills that we can practice, and can involve us seeing things from different perspectives. What does it mean to understand what someone is going through? With empathy, we can approach teamwork through the lens of compassion and kindness. Yes, we are here to get the work done, but we are all people with unique needs who go through the cycles of what we call life. Being there for your team members will ensure a culture of belonging…and who would want to leave a job where they felt like they belonged?
Along with empathy, vulnerability is also worth understanding as it plays a key role in indicating if your team feels like they belong. It’s difficult to be vulnerable at work. But it’s important to allow your team to understand things that are going on in your life that may affect your contributions. When it comes to vulnerability in the workplace, it’s simple. It’s about listening and remaining as neutral as possible. Sometimes, feedback can be unwarranted and unwanted. This isn’t the time or place for you to offer your two cents, but to be a listening ear. At the end of the conversation, if appropriate you can ask if there are any ways you can help.
We can all agree that empathy and vulnerability are needed, and leading with these skills promotes various benefits in your organization. There are many components to building a positive company culture, and below we specifically highlight how empathetic leadership benefits an organization overall.
To get a better understanding of what empathy looks like in the workplace, here’s our blog post on the Human Component of Culture.
- Empathy creates a sense of belonging, which in turn attracts diverse talent to your organization
- Collaboration is improved through better understanding of individuals and colleagues. This provides the context needed to be more productive as a team.
- More people are engaged when they feel like they have a stake in the work and are appreciated.
- As a plus, empathy improves an organization’s reputation among clients, colleagues, and potential candidates and ultimately helps the team grow.