During the pandemic, people’s lives were disrupted in many different ways. Everyone was trying to acclimate to new conditions. Stress levels went up. And when this happened, often people became less tolerant, less open to the views and positions of others. In other words, we lost our empathy for other people. This is something we all need to be aware of because empathy is much more than what we might just call a feeling. It is a mindset, an attitude that is necessary to lead and succeed in today’s economy. It is an essential skill for working collaboratively.
Being empathetic means stretching beyond our own needs and desires. It is the realization that we are part of a larger community, that we are social beings that need to be aware of others and their lives as well.
It is the opposite of egocentrism, where we are concerned only about ourselves and what we want. It is getting beyond the sense that our views are the most important or the only ones that matter. It is the understanding that our perspective is limited and that we can learn from others.
What is Empathy and How Do You Develop It (Especially at Work)
What empathy is not
Many people confuse empathy with sympathy, but this trivializes this important concept. Empathy is definitely not feeling sorry for someone or taking pity on them. It is a real attempt to understand the world from their point of view and to understand what they may be experiencing or going through.
Empathy is looking more closely at the particular situation and challenges that others are facing. It is in a way the opposite of sympathy because when we are feeling sympathy, we’re still wrapped up in our own emotions. The focus is still on ourselves.
A cognitive element
Empathy is more than mere sympathy also because it encompasses more than just feelings. To really attempt to understand the viewpoint and circumstances of someone else, we need to use our head as well as our heart. We need to learn and understand, to take in new information and assimilate it.
It is vital for career success
To lead people effectively, you need to know what your people are experiencing and going through because it will affect how you plan for the future, how you reach your goals.
Moreover, when your workers see that you really understand their situation, their feelings and attitudes, they will have more trust in you as a leader and be willing to put forth more effort for you.
Looking To Take Your Next Career Step?
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