• Sowmya

E-M-P-A-T-H-Y

"Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself. – Mohsin Hamid."

Imagine your friend in your class has just failed a major test. Your friend is distraught because she studied really hard and still failed. Even though you got a good grade on this test, you talk to your friend and try to make her feel better. This quality is empathy. It is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Author and science journalist Daniel Goleman once said,

“Empathy is an essential building block for compassion. We have to sense what another person is going through, what they are feeling, to spark compassion in us." From his quote, we realize that empathy is an important skill to be mastered. Empathy allows us to understand the emotions and thoughts of someone else that is crucial for any communicative response to take place. Hence, empathy is indispensable for effective communication.

Types of Empathy:

Cognitive Empathy

Cognitive empathy refers to mind to mind connection. When we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes we see the world through their eyes and, so we can understand their perspective on any situation better than ever before. Here, as an observer, we do not share someone else’s emotions. We are aware of the thoughts and feelings of others. The observer is rational and emotionally balanced in this case. Therefore, cognitive empathy enables a person to be a better communicator and decision-maker. Being emotionally balanced allows them to make better decisions at difficult times.

Emotional empathy

Imagine that you are living in a place that is hundreds of miles away from your hometown. Just a minute conversation from your loved ones who are miles away makes you feel happy. It allows you and them to understand the emotions of one another, either it is joy, excitement, fear, awe, empathetic pain, nostalgia, relief. Distance is never a barrier for understanding feelings because emotional empathy is too powerful that you feel physically along with another person. Among the two types of empathy, emotional empathy is built during the initial years. A child smiles when she/he sees you smiling.

You might be wondering how empathy can be useful in a fast-moving, corporate world. Well, empathy is essential in the corporate world as well. It acts like an essence for cultivating stronger bonds, promotes helping tendency in us, develops compassion towards others, and encourages acceptance of others. Companies must hire and develop more effective managers and leaders capable of moving their organization forward during both great and testing times. That requires looking past conventional procedures for the executive's advancement and developing the abilities generally significant for progress. One of the skills required is empathy – vital leadership quality.

Managers who are gifted at empathetic administration can perceive indications of exhaustion in others before burnout turns into an issue that results in withdrawal or turnover. Part of driving with empathy includes attempting to comprehend the novel needs and objectives of each colleague and how to best match work tasks to add to both execution and worker fulfilment. Empathetic administrators recognize that their colleagues are dynamic people who are bearing individual issues while keeping up their expert obligations. They perceive that it is an aspect of their function to lead and support those colleagues when they need it most. Keeping open lines of communication and encouraging transparency is a way to foster psychological safety and help colleagues feel comfortable sharing. Genuine associations with co-workers and fellowships at work matter and empathetic leadership is an instrument that supervisors can use to build up bonds with those they are advantaged to lead. We've all experienced individual misfortune, so regardless of whether we can relate to the particular misfortune our colleague encounters, we can act empathetically and let them realize they're supported.

Be it your personal life or professional life, empathy is an asset that must be developed. Imagine a world where we are not able to understand each-others thoughts and emotions, where we are completely self-obsessed. We all would have missed family bonds, long convos, unforgettable experiences that made a huge impact on us, heart-warming memories, and much more. That would be super creepy, right? A society which no one would want to live in- a cold, violent, chaotic, and terrifying war of all against all.

Reference:

1. Importance of empathy in workplace – ccl.org articles

2. Importance of showing empathy in the workplace – risepeople.com

3. The psychology of emotional and cognitive empathy – lesley.edu.in


About Sowmya: A naturalist and an extrovert who learns from experiences. An artist with explicit love for colours and cooking. She pursues her B. Tech in Information Technology at K.L.N. College of Engineering, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India.