Applying Empathy to the Workplace

Today is Conflict Resolution Day. There are many ways to resolve conflict in the workplace and it takes the work of both employees and employers to ensure any internal conflict is resolved swiftly and effectively.

But how can we prevent conflict? It’s probably not realistic to assume that no one will get angry with their co-worker. While there are many things we can actively do throughout our day to make our work lives and the lives of our co-workers better, a major influence in reducing conflict and working as a team is empathy.

empathy

Applying Empathy to the Workplace

Empathy is the ability to understand the thoughts, views, and emotions of others, and to understand what it’s like to be in that person’s situation.

Empathy can play a large role in employee interaction, teamwork, and conflict resolution. If you are able to see your co-worker’s point of view it is easier to understand why they are arguing against you or what has brought on the conflict in the workplace.

Often in the workplace we are all concerned with our performance, our schedule, and our tasks so we can lose focus of how we are working as a team and how we are treating and responding to our fellow workers. If we are able to put aside the notion of ‘what do i get out of this?’ and start paying attention to what others are telling us about their thoughts and emotions, we will all be able to work together much better.

People who are more empathetic are traditionally better listeners, better teammates, and are able to find the root of an issue and develop an appropriate solution.

11984559914_7bf4545c04_bMindtools.com has a list of 10 ways to use empathy more effectively.

If we all apply these tips in the workplace we will be able to work better as a team and avoid potential workplace conflict.

10 Ways to Use Empathy More Effectively (via Mind Tools)
  1. Put aside viewpoint, try to see things from other person’s point of view
  2. Validate other person’s perspective
  3. Examine your attitude
  4. Listen
  5. Ask what the other person would do
  6. Pay attention to what’s happening
  7. Listen carefully and note words and phrases other people use
  8. Respond encouragingly to central message
  9. Be flexible – prepare to change direction as other person’s thoughts/feelings also change
  10. Look for clues you’re on target

Sources

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/EmpathyatWork.htm

http://blog.shrm.org/blog/nextchat-empathy-in-the-workplace