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How to Improve Your Empathetic Skills in the Workplace

Empathy is the ability to consider and understand the perspective of others. Empathy involves imagining what it would be like to be in the other person's situation and what feelings you might have. When you have empathy for others, it is easier to communicate and solve problems.

Consider a different perspective

Imagine the problem or situation from your team member's or customer's point of view. Even if you don't come to the same conclusions as they do, you can better understand their thought processes, which can be helpful for future discussions.

Ask questions to understand

Ask what experiences led to a particular conclusion. Consider what factors might underlie the person's feelings. If you do not understand the situation, keep asking questions until you do. Empathy comes from a deeper understanding of what is happening.

Ask questions to solve problems

When someone tries to tell you about their problem, ask questions and listen actively. You can empathize better if you can see the person's goal and understand what they are working toward.

Listen actively

To show that you are listening, ask questions and use nonverbal cues such as eye contact. If someone tells you about an experience you have never had, ask them how it made them feel. This way, you can empathize with others who may face similar situations in the future.

Validate the other person’s feelings

Even if you do not fully understand or share the other person's point of view, show them that you think their feelings are important. Listen carefully to your coworker or customer and then explain that you understand the problem and are willing to help.

Offer help

Ask your colleagues if they need help with a difficult project, and offer your support if you can. It's not always obvious when a colleague is struggling. Observe your surroundings and take the initiative to offer help before you're asked.

Challenge your biases

It's natural to be attracted to people who're similar to you, but you'll learn more if you start conversations with people outside your inner circle. Talk to colleagues you don't normally interact with to learn about other perspectives and problem-solving approaches.

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