Education & Career Trends: September 21
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
- Excerpts are taken from an article published on entrepreneur.com.
When you look around these days, it’s easy to feel a little alarmed by the state of interpersonal relations. Whether at work or in our personal lives, it’s just not easy to get along with everyone. Whatever the cause, it seems many of us are having an increasingly difficult time communicating well with each other, and it often seems that a lack of empathy is one of the reasons behind that problem.
Empathy is the art and skill of putting yourself in another’s shoes, even when doing so results in a completely different perspective. While it might seem somewhat “touchy-feely,” it’s still an imperative leadership skill for managers and entrepreneurs, for these four simple reasons.
1. You can’t lead employees without empathy
- Out of the 8,760 hours in a calendar year, most of your full-time workers spend around 2,000 of them on the job.
- That means fully three-quarters of their experiences and lives are lived outside the context of your company, the one thing you share in common with them.
- Consequently, your understanding of them — as people or as employees — may most likely be based on just one part of their personalities, beliefs, and behaviours.
- This isn’t always a complete or objective picture.
- It’s pretty difficult to motivate people effectively if you cannot or do not understand their motivations and fears.
2. You can’t effectively reach customers and clients if you don’t grasp their needs
- Most marketing professionals will tell you that the secret to effectively persuading prospective customers to make a purchase from your brand is to get to know your prospects intimately.
- Smart business marketers know this; that’s why they spend time and energy drawing up detailed customer profiles or user avatars to help give direction and voice to their marketing plans.
- Of course, intellectually understanding the general demographics of your target audience is just the first step.
- Once you’ve achieved that level of affinity with your market, you can then design digital and offline campaigns that will more effectively connect with and persuade your prospective customers to become actual ones.
3. You make better decisions using empathy as a tool
- Being able to understand someone else’s perspective more fully, including the emotional factors that may be driving their behaviour, helps you make better decisions, as long as you use it as one tool among many.
- Believe it or not, even empathy has triggered a backlash of sorts. Some studies point out its limitations and drawbacks, but these tend to look at empathy in a very limited way.
- Empathy is a tool, not a singular, discrete strategy.
- It’s best used along with critical and rational thinking skills and decision-making paradigms.
- Your decisions ultimately are supported by a fuller picture of the choice and how it will impact all involved.
4. You can’t change the world(or even your office culture) without empathy
- Many entrepreneurs these days feel a strong sense of mission that goes beyond bringing their products and services to the world, to encompass a real sense of duty to make the world better.
- No longer content to seek an ever-increasing profit margin, these entrepreneurs feel obliged and duty-bound to contribute to social and political justice.
- If doing your part to change the world for the better is on your agenda as well, it’s important to utilise empathy to make sure your actions are serving that purpose.
- Empathy helps drive and empower social change.
- Recognising that there is more that unites us than divides us is the first step.
- When we understand the full context of the lives of those we seek to help, we make better choices as to how to best support them.
Empathy isn’t a finite resource. You can strengthen yours by exercising it at any time, just as you do your body’s muscles. Empathy can also be enhanced through mindfulness training and even through intentional listening. Experts believe there are multiple avenues for reshaping and retraining your brain’s neural network to increase empathetic thinking. Doing so will help to increase your success in business as well as in your personal life.
Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)