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EQ IMPACT: Empathy gets a bad rap...

...and it is exactly what we need today!


Life is Lifing! And we are trying to be sensitive to all of it. Because we have been told we have to "act like we care." Well, some of us are bad actors. Just being honest. 


This will be brief; I want to get to the point.  


Empathy gets a bad rap as folks think it is all about tears and hugs.

Empathy can be difficult for some people due to various factors, including past experiences, personality traits, and neurological differences. Additionally, societal and cultural factors can shape one's ability to empathize with others.  


But I read somewhere that the most common reason people have trouble showing empathy is that they don't know how. They feel uncomfortable, and they don't know what to do or what to say. (I will share some tips with you on that…hold on!) 


Let's jump into the workplace. Empathy is a leadership superpower. Showing empathy communicates respect and care for another's perspective and experience. It creates a sense of trust and connection with leadership, colleagues, and peers. When people feel connected, they stick around and make an impact. 


Identifying the empathy gap can also increase trust and cultivate healthy relationships. People tend to have a hard time seeing another's perspective. 


"People remain fixated on the other person's failings instead of finding a way to relate." ~Justin Bariso



Nicole Speaking With a Client (pic: Rae Images of Charlotte)
Nicole Speaking With a Client (pic: Rae Images of Charlotte)


A Businessolver study found that one out of three people would switch companies for increased empathy. 40% would work longer hours, and 56% would stay if they felt more valued. 


Then we flip it…I have been asked, "What if I feel too much empathy? DO NOT…I mean it, folks…do not immediately label yourself an Empath. (deep breath).  


Having too much empathy can lead to emotional exhaustion, burnout, and feeling overwhelmed by the emotions of others. Setting boundaries and practicing self-care is essential to prevent these negative effects. Saying you have too much empathy can also mean avoiding your issues and instead focusing on someone else's. Something to think about!


Balancing empathy can be challenging, but here are some tips: 


1. Practice self-care and self-compassion to prevent burnout. 


2. Set boundaries to prevent overextending yourself emotionally.  


3. Practice active listening and understand others' perspectives without taking on their emotions.  


4. Seek support from friends, family, a coach, or a therapist if needed.  


Going back to not knowing what to say when you want to demonstrate empathy, here are some quick suggestions: 


"That sounds really hard." 

"I'm in your corner to support you." 

"I'm unsure what to say, but thank you for sharing." 

"What has this been like for you?" 

"I can appreciate how challenging this must be for you." 

"I hear you." 

"I can relate to that feeling. What can I do to help?" 


You may be asking, how do I become natural at demonstrating empathy for others? 


By practicing it! Shhhh! Listen. Instead of giving advice or trying to fix the problem, listen to the person and use one of the best phrases. This is NOT your chance to change the narrative into you. 


There are a lot of rewards to practicing empathy...increased influence, morale, results, and loyalty, to name a few! 


Remember that the goal of empathy is connection. Influence and results will follow if you communicate in a way that strengthens connection. 


Bonus!

Remember, you do not have all the details on what a person is dealing with. How you see situations may vary daily depending on who you interact with, what you watch on TV, or the latest and greatest on social media. Also, think about the emotional stress that you may be under. That can determine how you react or respond to someone else's situation.


Lastly - just because you don't feel a certain way about a situation because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it is not affecting the next person.

 


Let's be Emotionally Brilliant (96.8% of the time!)🥴!


Nicole - Emotional Intelligence Expert
Nicole F. Smith, M.Ed.

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