|  December 18, 2013

Empathy at work

We all know work isn’t supposed to be personal, but let’s face it… it’s hard for it not to be sometimes. We spend the majority of our waking hours with this group of people – who in turn, learn lots of things about us. Sometimes (many times) they’re personal things. Like why we’re in a bad mood, an issue we’re having with another person, news of a sick family member, or even something going on at  work that’s getting us into a funk.

Personal things come up all the time, probably because for the “minor” personal setbacks, we don’t have the option of taking a day off, or a longer lunch, and we’re left to just work through it. But we’re only human, so as much as we try to paint a smile on, those around us start to notice.

Because of this, empathy is important in the workplace. It’s important to be able to respond in a way that is caring when a co-worker shares something with you that they’re having a rough time with.

I watched a very simple, but lovely video today on the topic of empathy. Give it a watch…

The video says it best, but the keys to empathy are simple.

  • Take the perspective of another person
  • Don’t judge
  • Recognize other’s emotions and let them know

The video also points out that showing empathy is never comes in the form of an “at least…” statement. “At least tomorrow’s Friday”, “At least it’s not [something worse]”.

Sometimes our desire to want to just “make something better” actually gets in the way us making a meaningful connection with someone else, and helping them eventually feel better.

Hope you enjoyed this one and thanks to Cup of Jo, one of my favorite blogs out there, for sharing it. RSA is the company who made this video and they have so many other great RSA shorts – some which I’ll definitely share in the future.

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