How empathy can help your company get ahead

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Team Leadership
21 Oct 2022

Empathy is an important emotion, required not only for the growth of an individual but a collective growth of an organization as well. First off, to understand the importance of this feeling, it is essential that one understands what empathy means. And how empathy can help.

Most often, empathy is confused with sympathy but the two could not be any more different. Sympathy is an emotion that displays a feeling of pity or sorrow for a person’s misfortune or a sad state of affairs. It is not necessarily demeaning.

But, when compared to empathy, sympathetic feelings are when the person is watching or observing from a standpoint over the person who is suffering. There is a stark difference in the sufferer and the one observing. Not many companies practice empathy, especially in Indian companies.

So, what is empathy?

Empathy, on the other hand, is an emotion or an ability that enables the person to understand and share the feelings of another. They need not be feelings of sadness or misfortune and could be feelings of joy as well. Empathy is where you are understanding the emotions of another, and not just feeling sorry for them.

The misconception in organizational behavior is that empathy, like sympathy, is a clichéd emotion and can end up making any leader seem incompetent and soft.

However, empathy is a strong emotion. And this can work wonders for any organization.

This emotion can set a trend of complete understanding among employees and employers. It can destroy the idea of competition among competitors and gain loyal customers. Empathy can also help in bringing back innovative employees and grow from better to best.

Is empathy important?

Empathy is growing in its importance in the corporate world. However, because of this growth, there are quite a few misconceptions about the same. Empathy is often brushed off as feelings of being nice or displaying compassion. These are merely side effects of empathy and not the feeling itself. It is objective, it takes into account perspective and often renders the employees of their own biases if any.

It is always important to grow a sense of empathy because this enables the person to feel or understand a situation from another person’s point of view.

This feeling often enforces a feeling of goodwill within an organization and pushes forth to success not necessarily after benefits, but for overall growth of the company itself. A few things need to be met because empathy will require a great amount of patience and commitment.

Empathy when practiced, can ensure innovation improves within an organization.

With empathy involved, the office atmosphere will change into that of a place where employees are comfortable sharing and learning with one another. It can be about the work or even about each other, and in hindsight about themselves as well. With a company being open and ensuring employee growth in terms of mental health, there presents an opportunity to build a focus group.

A focus group environment can be created where people are comfortable and are willing to share details with one another. A place where this sharing can develop into understanding one another better and to get more information out of each other.

What happens when a company doesn't practice empathy?

The biggest downfall of an organization would be it's lacking in empathy. Within the core of its set up, it is essential for any organization to have empathy as one of the basic elements of its functioning.

It’s not only important to know an organization’s strengths, which is one of the things that empathy can build. However, it is also important to understand an organization’s weaknesses. They can also develop an empathetic understanding of each other and oneself.

Once the strengths and weaknesses are identified, a company can work accordingly to rectify and build them.

With regard to startups, they fall under the category where they make sure what they’re doing is innovative. They attempt to shift perspectives or build a product that is game-changing. Because start-ups are often short in staff, they believe in one thing. They have a focus group and this enforces a behavior of real perspective. They take insights from one another and letting each other grow.

In hindsight, this is not the case with larger companies. There, the perspective then changes from one to several, often leaving behind the empathy factor.

Showing a sense of respect for not just people in higher positions but to your immediate co-workers is essential. An empathic leadership methodology can make everyone in a team feel a sense of togetherness. This increases productivity, self-confidence, and allegiance.

Empathy is a powerful tool in the leadership belt of a well-liked and respected executive.

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