We have an empathy deficit. Decades of research suggest Americans have become less concerned about others and less willing to understand different perspectives. This hurts us personally and professionally. When workplace relationships suffer, so does an organization’s success.
Here’s the good news: Evidence for empathy in the workplace is growing, and leaders from nearly every field are taking note. Empathy is a skill we can build, just like a muscle. When we exercise it, we grow stronger. Focusing our attention on the people around us strengthens our ability to learn, communicate, and get results.
Let’s get specific. Here’s why empathy in the workplace matters:
1) Empathy is at the core of your mission.
It’s the guiding force behind organizations working to help people. Without empathy, many services that prevent violence, disease, and poverty might fail to exist at all. The ability to understand others’ experiences is also vital for businesses committed to delivering high-quality products that meet customers’ needs and advance their quality of life. So if empathy is not a priority in service delivery and evaluation, then there might be a disconnect between an organization’s mission and its practices.
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