Empathy is what I feel AS you – it’s the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It helps foster stronger relationships and improves communication in teams.
👉🏽 Empathy is key in cultivating psychological safety in teams,
👉🏽 it is the ability to recognize others’ needs and emotional well-being,
👉🏽 and it helps teams communicate better and be more creative.
Being in tune with other people’s perspectives, listening to what they are going through without jumping to conclusions, or trying to solve their problems is mission-critical for good relationships at work. Practicing empathy is key in creating psychologically safe workplaces for everyone and essential to de-escalating difficult conversations.
To persuade you to believe in the power of empathy, here are some compelling stats:
A Catalyst study of over 889 employees found that:
● When their employer was empathic, innovation increased by 61%.
● 50% of people with empathic leaders reported their workplace was more inclusive, compared with only 17% of those with less empathic leadership.
● 57% of white women and 62% of women of colour said they were unlikely to leave their employer if their family circumstances were respected.
Empathy cultivates trust and understanding and promotes mental health.
Now that you are convinced of the power of empathy in the workplace, let’s talk about how it matters when promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within teams.
This means that your EDI initiative must be delivered with empathy!
Empathy is a skill required to create psychological safety in teams. It is especially needed to support an organization’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy.
We don’t all come to the workplace with the same set of skills to manage conflict or difficult conversations.
We can all practice and nurture the ability to look at the world through someone else’s lens individually and collectively. Empathy is especially important to practice when managing conflict and having hard conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion in teams or within organizations.
We can better understand the challenges of marginalized individuals when we see the world through their eyes. Only then are we truly prepared to have constructive and safe dialogues to address EDI at work.
Empathy plays a role in an organization’s EDI efforts by creating a culture of trust and understanding within teams. It provides a strong and safe foundation for these challenging conversations.
Culture of empathy as it relates to EDI:
When we practice empathy, we are more likely to have our struggles shared and understood by others. We can see issues from someone else’s perspective and we are ready to approach situations in a thoughtful, appreciative manner. This is the foundation for EDI work and creating a meaningful impact within the workplace.
Empathy fuels positive change.
We all have the ability to influence or de-escalate challenging conversations.
So how can we practice empathy in conversations to help us manage these situations?
● Ask questions that foster understanding.
● Follow up with statements that show you are actively listening.
● Challenge your biases – biases harm our ability to empathize with others.
Knowing how and when to practice empathy is a strategy that helps us regulate our emotions, and is key to addressing challenging conversations in the workplace.
“Empathy is when your brain gives a hug to the experience of someone else.”Lana Bentley
“When you are hugging someone it’s not possible to be hurtful or not inclusive. You are inviting someone in and leaning into their feelings and perspective”Lana Bentley, Mindfulicity’s Director of Program Strategy
None of us have to look very far to see examples of incivility in the workplace or within our communities. That is why it’s important to remember that empathy begins with us.
It is especially difficult to practice empathy when strong emotions are present or in times of high stress. The key is to press pause, take a breath and ground yourself in the present moment.
Give space for your own mental health and wellness. When our tanks are running on empty it can be hard to empathize with others. It starts from the inside out.
Our aim is to share insightful and helpful content for our community. Nothing motivates our team more than creating spaces for open conversations about psychological safety, workplace wellbeing, and shifting corporate culture.
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Mindfulicity provides practical tools everyone can put into action immediately, every day, to drive better relationships, communication, and decision-making both at work and at home.
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