Have Companies Failed to Embrace Empathy?

Empathy—the ability to read and understand people’s emotions, needs, and thoughts—is a critical leadership skill. It allows leaders to influence, inspire, and help employees achieve their dreams and goals. However, empathy is more than ‘hey, we care about you.’ In this article at TIME, Anne Helen Petersen explains why embracing empathy in a corporate setting is daunting.

Why Does It Fall Apart?

Petersen questions, “Is it bringing their whole selves, to use an HR buzzword, to work? Is it cultivating niceness? Is it making space for sympathy and allowing people to air grievances, or is it leadership modeling vulnerability?

C-suite executives have made empathy central to their corporate messaging or strategy in many mid-size and large enterprises. But why is there a push for workplace empathy? The author explains that remote work has exhausted employees. Most employees worked all the time, handled caregiving responsibilities, and managed the threats of COVID-19. Additionally, they were also exhausted because of a generalized empathy deficit in their organizations. Many executives believe that empathy is not a buzzword but a cultural principle.

Rethinking Workplace Empathy

Employee dissatisfaction is often the result of toxic company policies, thoughtless management, and executives clinging to the status quo. How do you cultivate healthy workplace culture? Developing empathy requires self-awareness, self-management, endurance, patience, and practice. Business leaders must have a vision that helps them put enough effort into creating a healthy workplace. Additionally, they must accept how crucial empathy is at work.

As a leader, you must ask people for feedback about how your employees perceive you rather than assuming you know. Talk to your employees about how they feel rather than dismissing their emotions as unimportant or irrelevant. People want to feel appreciated at work. If you are not giving them that, you will undoubtedly fail as a leader.

To read the original article, click on https://time.com/6082524/corporate-empathy-trap/.

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