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Tag: empathy interactions

Recent Study Claims Empathizing Is Seen as “Too Much Effort”

Practicing empathy can be a challenging experience. It is not easy to set aside judgment and attempt to understand opposing views or actions of others. It requires revising specific modes of thinking, such as the tendency to take sides in a conflict or a persistent urge to criticize. As it turns out, many people find empathizing to be problematic and “not worth the mental effort.”

Recently, researchers at Penn State University and the University of Toronto published some significant results from their examination of human behavior as it relates to expressing empathy. “There is a common assumption that people stifle feelings of empathy because they could be depressing or costly, such as making donations to charity,” says lead researcher C. Daryl Cameron, PhD, “But we found that people primarily just don’t want to make the mental effort to feel empathy toward others, even when it involves feeling positive emotions.”

The study was published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, and included 11 experiments with more than 1,200 participants. In two of the experiments, there were hopeful findings: Participants who were told they were effective at feeling compassion were more likely to continue expressing empathy within the study parameters. Cameron concluded that, “If we can shift people’s motivations toward engaging in empathy, then that could be good news for society as a whole.”

We are at a critical juncture when empathetic communication skills need to take precedence. One way to build your “empathy muscle” is through acquiring the competence and confidence to have tough conversations with others. Coming to alignment in your relationships can increase emotional resilience and intensify feelings of empathy. Try developing healthier habits of mind that incorporate compassionate responses. It is possible to train your brain for empathy.

Here are some ways to build motivation and positivity that will allow you to express empathy naturally:

Kindness reigns.

It has been proven many times over that you will feel happier when you act in service of others. The first step is to be kind to yourself — that is your “inside game.” Performing acts of kindness for others generates a ripple effect that leads to a more empathetic point of view.

Gain perspective.

Try to view circumstances from another person’s standpoint. Instead of assuming, stop and take a breath before you react, to gain perspective. You may be behaving in a knee-jerk fashion that comes from a place of judgment. Practice empathy by asking better questions and gain a deeper understanding of others.

Let go of resentment.

When you judge others or hold on to anger, it can show up in your verbal and non-verbal communication. When your thoughts become jaded by resentment, try to be more patient with yourself — and then exercise that patience with others. Remember to forgive, which is the ultimate antidote to bitterness.

Stop complaining.

Complaining is a trap that many fall into. Be mindful of criticizing others. Focus on providing constructive insight, and work toward contributing to a collaborative solution. Pause before speaking, and consider the impact of voicing your resistance or disparagement. Will it add value to the conversation or will it devalue your relationship?

Practice stillness.

Nothing expands your capacity for empathy faster than mindfulness meditation. The scientific community now realizes what the ancient yogis knew long ago — quieting the mind is good for you. Just a few of its benefits include greater focus and self-esteem, better relationships, improved resilience, and ultimately more control over your emotions. Try sitting quietly for a few minutes each day and tune in to the sound of your breath — or try this meditation for beginners.

Published on: Apr 30, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Source: Recent Study Claims Empathizing Is Seen as “Too Much Effort”

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Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work | GGSC | Empathy Magazine

One of the key insights from the science of happiness is that our own personal happiness depends heavily on our relationships with others. By tuning into the needs of other people, we actually enhance our own emotional well-being. The same is true within organizations: those that foster trusting, cooperative relationships are more likely to have a more satisfied, engaged—and more productive and innovative—workforce, with greater employee loyalty and retention.

Source: Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work | GGSC | Empathy Magazine

Real Reason You Should Make Empathy Your Mantra – Lambeth Hochwald

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The capacity to understand or feel what others experience AKA ’empathy’ isn’t usually a word that’s associated with business but it should be because good bosses know that empathy is one of the best management tools they have.

But Michael Ventura, author of Applied Empathy: The New Language of Leadership (Touchstone), publishing this week, believes this word is one that can help us better connect to clients, attract the right talent, ignite a spirit of creativity and identify opportunities for growth and there are three definitive ways to up your empathy quotient.

I’m a big proponent of this word and consider it a mantra in all of my interactions, whether I’m interviewing someone who may not be as media-trained as a corporate bigwig or a vendor helping me sort out a billing issue.

That’s why I really wanted to speak with Ventura, an entrepreneur and creative director who founded Sub Rosa, a strategy and design practice, in 2009. He considers it his mission to demonstrate the ways in which empathy–the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes–can be the key to your company’s innovation, growth and success.

“Empathy isn’t about being nice and it’s not about pity or sympathy either,” Ventura says. “It’s about understanding–your consumers, your colleagues and yourself–and it’s a direct path to powerful leadership.”

How to Step Up Your Empathy

To put yourself on that path, solicit feedback on your own leadership and create moments where you and your team can talk candidly about their needs and how they best thrive.

“Until we make an investment in ourself and the people we work with, we are at a disadvantage,” Ventura says. “Candid conversation, thoughtful listening, self-observation and a willingness to improve/evolve our approach as we grow are all key factors in delivering empathic leadership to our organizations.”

In looking back at the work he has done with his clients over the years, Ventura says that his best work was done when he and his principals were at their most empathetic selves.

“We got out of our own shoes and met with the people with whom the work intersected, whether that was consumers, partners or shareholders,” says Ventura whose firm counts among its clients a variety of Fortune 500 companies (GE, Google, Nike), the United Nations, the Obama Administration and start-ups like Warby Parker.

And, like any good coach knows, the way you get the most out of your players is by knowing how to inspire and motivate them, Ventura says.

“Some may benefit from instruction, while others thrive on pressure,” he says. “Great leaders take the time to truly understand their teams and bring forth leadership that matches their needs and aligns to the overall goals of the company.”

The ability to apply empathy and understand the ways in which it applies to leadership and staffing decisions is ‘where the rubber meets the road,’ Ventura says.

This means looking deeply at company values, the ways teams are structured, the way meetings are run and the way products are developed.

Focus on the Four Ps

“Everything that is core to your business can be considered,” he says. “We typically bundle these into four ‘Ps’ – people, processes, principles and product/service. Taking that empathic point of view that you’ve unearthed in your research and conversations can help to infuse these core pillars of the business with more meaning.”

Best of all, even the most cynical hardwired entrepreneurs can learn to be more empathic but there is one caveat: “Empathy is a muscle like anything else and if you don’t use it, it will atrophy,” Ventura emphasizes.

And, ironically, empathy begins with a look in the mirror.

Ventura stresses that it’s key to find ways to get out of your own perspective every day. This includes talking to people who are unlike you on your team.

“Journaling, meditation or other forms of self-reflection are key tools that you can use to better understand your own personal biases,” Ventura says. “This can also help you come to grips with your own limitations while still leading with confidence and empathy.”

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