The best leaders inspire, connect with, and motivate those around them. They make people feel valued, build trust, and develop strong connections throughout their company and career.
The key to creating all of this isn’t charisma or power. It’s empathy.
Empathy is the ability to understand how someone else sees and perceives the world around them. Everyone see the world through their own filter of experiences, beliefs, values and perception. Many times we even see the same situation from entirely different angles.
This understanding can help you tremendously both at work and in your personal life.
If someone comes to you with a problem or challenge, empathy helps you understand how they see the problem, and you can guide them to a solution that works best for them.
Empathy works wonders for connecting, inspiring and building up your team. It can make your group happier as individuals, which also makes them more productive employees.
We all appreciate it when others interact with us in a meaningful way as human beings, and not just employees. Empathy can help you, as a leader, connect more authentically with your team, your peers and your boss.
The core thing to understand is that everyone, yourself included, sees the world a bit differently.
We each have different values, beliefs, and perceptions on who we are as well as the world around us, and how it works.
These aren’t just personal values, but also extend in everything we do, including our work.
When we understand what’s important to someone, we can use that to effectively support them.
For example, one person might feel that being publicly recognized for their work is a great motivator. Another person may be more shy and would rather the project itself be praised than for them to directly get all of the attention.
By empathizing with each person, we can give them the result they are looking for in the method that works best for each of them.
There are three main keys to empathy.
Key 1: Develop an Empathetic Mind
Understand that we all have different perceptions and needs. Others may see the world very differently than you .
The whole point of being empathetic is to understand someone else, not to project your own ideas on them or their situation.
Be non judgemental when you are talking with someone, and be open to their way of thinking.
You don’t have to agree with how they see things, just acknowledge and understand that’s how things look to them.
Key 2: Become a Great Listener
The second key is to be a good listener
When you are talking with someone, make sure to be fully present and listen. Don’t think about how to solve the problem, whether they are right or wrong, or anything else.
Focus on observing and listening.
Understand the feelings behind what they are saying. Vocal tone and body language can give you clues to what’s important to someone, as well as how they feel about a topic.
Ask “why” to delve deeper into their values and motivators. Many times there’s a hidden reason behind wants or actions that you can only uncover by delving deeper.
Key 3: Empathy is About Others
The third key is to understand that empathy isn’t about you. It’s about the other person.
Your goal is to understand them so that you can relate to them more effectively.
It’s all about connecting, listening, and understanding.
These three keys will give you a solid foundation to grow your empathy skills.
The great part about empathy is that it can impact many aspects of your life and career.
You can guide and inspire your team better.
Understanding your boss can help you look better to them, which can lead to a promotion.
You’ll be able to diffuse and settle arguments much more effectively when you understand their point of view.
Fundamentally, Empathy is About Understanding and Connecting
When you take the time to really understand someone, they will trust you more and will be much more likely to work together.
Think back to the last time someone really listened to you.
How did you feel toward that person?
Did you feel more connected to them?
Did you feel that they valued you?
Did you feel more valued as a person?
That’s how others feel when you show them you care, with empathy.
Try the three keys during your next conversation and see how much better things can be with a little empathy.