What is the new business black? Empathy

Empathy is a buzzword in business now.

Harvard Business Review has multiple articles available online discussing empathy.

So what is empathy?

It’s the ability to feel and understand emotions of others.  I call it people reading.

It’s a real skill.

Some people are completely without it.

I call it operating in the house with the lights out.

Without it you could be floundering around believing you’re executing business opportunities with all your chops in play.

When in reality you misread situations by failing to ask questions and don’t listen up for the possibilities opening up before you.

It calls for action too.

So get started asking questions and listening.

Sound simple?

Because it is.

The power of these two is in the way you do both.

What you should steer clear of


Do not to compare.  “I’ve got much greater issues than you.”  And then expand on them.

Comparison is a trap.


Avoid telling someone to look on the bright side.  “There’s a silver lining in this.”

Ignoring the person’s emotions is not empathetic.


Forget problem solving and failing to recognise the embarrassment someone is feeling.  “Well if I were you this is what I would do…”

Empathy 1.1What you can do

Ask your team member/lead or prospect about the scenario they are experiencing.

Let them get it all out.

Prompt them if you need to with further questions to get a complete picture.

And then really listen to what the person has to say.

You need to appreciate how they are in that moment and why they got there.

Try to feel what they are expressing.

It helps to subtly mirror their body language if you can.

Resist the urge to say anything until you think they are completely done.

When they have finished speaking then begin by recapping on what you thought were the main points.

Let them know this is what you are doing to ensure you understand what they said to you.

Then you begin to talk through with them how to improve results the next time out of the gate.

Keep in mind that empathy is not for the purpose of avoiding accountability.

Essentially you are allowing others to acknowledge the part they play in the situations they find themselves and how to move forward to improve their results should something similar arise again.

The point is you want to build mental-toughness and self-belief.

So that they can solve matters in future by learning from issues.

Then taking action with new approaches to scenarios they’ve found themselves in previously.

Empathy in action then is about making a connection, inspiring by giving opportunity for self- reflection and allowing folks to find their own answers to matters.

If you liked Empathy please like share or comment.


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