Leadership and Management

Why do we need to apply Empathy?

I continue my analysis on the qualities of the Entrepreneur / Intrapreneur with the Nr. 2 quality Empathy.

Definition:

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
The capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.

Empathy originates from the Greek word “EMPATHEIA”, this resulted by combining the two Greek words “em” meaning “in” and “pathos” meaning “feeling” is a comp.

Synonyms

Empathy: affinity with, rapport with, sympathy with, understanding of, sensitivity towards, sensibility to, identification with, awareness of, fellowship with, fellow feeling for, like-mindedness, togetherness, closeness to;

I believe that being empathetic can be one of the most important human trades. The sheer empathy one most deploy in order to truly listen to his surrounding can be overwhelming for the most of us.

If we take for example the human face, it is the one part of us that we almost never cover up, except wan we rob a bank. Our faces are a map of human emotions, our expression can literally save the human species. Let’s rewind the clock a few million years when communication was limited to primitive sounds and expressions. When someone from our tribe tried a berry and it was bitter, we could see the disgusted expression on his face which signaled to us his emotions towards this food.

Through empathy we could feel his pain and signal our brains that the food was bad and that this person needs help.

Elementary forms of empathy have been observed in primates, dogs, and even in rats. So take this humanity, nature did it first! But on the more serious side scientist believe that empathy has deep roots in our brains, and some aspects of empathy can be traced to mirror neurons, which blew my mind, that means that there are cells in the brain that fire when we see someone else performing an action in almost the same way that we would performed that action. Just think movies, why do we cry when we see someone lose a beloved, cheer when the protagonist wins the game, hate that bad guy that preys on the week! That is empathy, putting over self in those shoes, living that same intense moment, jumping from our chairs in joy or crunching over fists in anger.

Challenges for a Entrepreneur

As e entrepreneur you are most likely to be sounded by different types of personality’s, most of them with different problems and needs, this is where being empathetic really comes in to play for you. Having empathy can include having the understanding that there are many factors that go into decision making and cognitive thought processes. Since empathy involves understanding the emotional states of other people, the way it is characterized is derived from the way emotions themselves are characterized.

Example:

Let’s say two colleagues don’t get along, one of them comes to you, you being the CEO, or just a person of trust within the company. He lays down his version of the story for you, now you have one vision of the situation, and please be conscious about the fact that this is not necessarily  a problem yet, it’s just a situation.

Tread lightly and apply empathy! Listen wary carefully to his words, go deeper and ask questions to get more inside and be genuinely interested in his current and past state of mind. Bee thoughtful in the decision making process and never rush towards a conclusion.

Predicated on the information that was given to you, start asking yourself questions. Don’t forget that you only have one version till now.

Why did she or he come to you? Why didn’t the other one come to you? How long has dies been going on? Does one of them have to go or due they just need a bit of time apart from each other? Maybe she or he just needs some time of? Is one of them poisonous for the environment? This will surprise you but sometime you don’t have to do nothing, just let it deflate.

In Business and Management

People sometime struggle to make intuitive decisions and often get fooled into believing that they understand their business if they have quantitative research to rely upon.
That the real opportunity for companies doing business in the 21st century is to create a widely held sense of empathy for customers and employees is sometimes greatly mist. 

Empathy is more often found to be the strongest predictor of ethical leadership behavior in an management model, and empathy is one of the three strongest predictors of senior executive effectiveness.

Recent event, I had a on site meeting with some officials regarding a problem. After the technical part was over we landed on the financial part of the problem. A sum was mentioned to which I replied, that it seams reasonable to me and the cost don’t seam so high, the opposite side then replied “well maybe not in this country but from were you come from its a lot of money!” I took 1 second , then replied, “what does this has to do with the matter at hand?” with a slightly aggravated and confused voice.

The conversation then shifted towards safely depositing some goods from the site. The same person looks at me and asks for my confirmation that I understood the necessity. I kindly answered that we are confident in our capacities. A quick comeback then arrived, I am sure you are familiar with your nationalities background of steeling, and that you should take extra care. STUN NUMEROUS DUE.

I honestly thought that I am going to loose it, but I did NOT, I kindly smiled, shook there hands and wished them a wonderful day and thank them for their time.

Simple thought process in this situation.

Step 1. Deploy Empathy. Because I can not change the past bad experiences of a human being, but I can create pleasant new ones.

Step 2. Focus on the problem at hand, and due not create new ones.

Step 3. Not all battles must be fought, retreat till you have the upper hand and conserve your energies, for the day is still long.

As i sad in my previews blog post, Self-Awareness is Key.

If you want to build a country, how big of a country can you build till people start not getting along. Don’t forget, we are all different.

Some people just lack of Empathy, early indicators can be :

  1. Frequently finding oneself in prolonged arguments
  2. Forming opinions early and defending them vigorously
  3. Thinking that other people are overly sensitive
  4. Refusing to listen to other points of view
  5. Blaming others for mistakes
  6. Not listening when spoken to
  7. Holding grudges and having difficulty to forgive
  8. Inability to work in a team

Empathy matters in every corner of your life!

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