Making Yourself Competitive: Skill 7

– A word from Gradlinc by Lizane Fuzy

Have a little empathy!

The golden word in today’s society. Having empathy for someone else. This is a cornerstone of emotional intelligence and if you have no idea what either of these means, start Googling NOW. Empathy is the ability to understand how someone else might be feeling or what they might be thinking. Emotional intelligence is a combination of understanding or sensing other people’s emotions and being self-aware of your own emotions and how you are reacting (and appearing) towards them. The umbrella definition for emotional intelligence is the ability to manage your own emotions while still communicating effectively. So even if you are angry, realise you are angry and excuse yourself from the situation if you can so that you can go and calm down. Or perhaps picking up that your colleague seems angry and not provoking him or her further and changing the conversation without them having to. 

So why is it so important in the workplace? It is important in every aspect of your life such as personal relationships and just, in general, being a decent person! But in the workplace, it helps if you can anticipate what and how others are feeling and check yourself in the conversation to not cause unnecessary conflict, discomfort, hurt or even company issues. Realising your colleague or manager is perhaps not their friendliest selves on Monday mornings might help you to understand to rather set up a meeting with them on Tuesday if you know they will be more approachable and open to your new idea. Or understanding that your one colleague is not chatty in the mornings before work and perhaps came in early to have some peace before the workday starts and leaving them be instead of targeting them for the next 15 minutes to listen to your party weekend or views on Trump. 

It can as simple as noticing your colleague seems quiet and just asking if they need to talk and either leaving them alone if they say no, or offering your time over a cup of tea if they want to take you up on the offer. Empathy puts humanness back in business. If you talk about customers, empathy plays a huge role to understand how your customer might be feeling when they buy your product and tailoring your strategy to hook them in the right moment and the right place. Or the opposite can also be true, dealing with an angry customer understand to not take anything personally and to remain calm while dealing with the situation because you understand that if you were in the customer’s shoes, you probably would have been feeling the same.

Empathy might come naturally for some, but others must make a point to practice and you can start any day by just focusing on the people around you and trying to understand the world from their perspective. If you might want kids one day, this will come in handy because a 2-year-old needs you to understand the world from their perspective because they don’t even always understand it!

Inspired by an article published in Forbes and written by Natalie Peart: The 12 Most Important Skills You Need To Succeed At Work.

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