How to be Empathetic Towards Your Employees ? Empathy doesn't necessarily mean you agree. It's about helping an employee know he or she is being heard

By Nidhi Singh

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Empathy is one of the essential skills required for effective leadership in the workplace. It simply means the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person's frame of reference. It is really important for employers and managers to cultivate this skill. When employees observe that their manager understands their feelings, it automatically creates a bond of trust between them. If they trust you, they will take more effort to push themselves out of their comfort zone.

The yearly Empathy Index released by 'The Empathy Business', a consultancy based in London, focuses on companies that are successfully creating empathetic cultures. In the 2016 Global Empathy Index, out of total 170 companies, 8 Indian companies were there in the bottom 20 of the list.

Bigger names like Facebook, Google Alphabet, and LinkedIn were in the top 3 positions in the list of the most empathetic companies. On the other side, Indian companies like Bharat Petroleum, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, and ICICI Bank were the world's least empathetic companies. The report also highlights that some of India's biggest companies have the worst work culture.

Entrepreneur India spoke to few human resource managers to know few ways organizations can encourage a more empathetic workplace and help managers be more empathetic towards their employees.

Communicate to Employees:

According to Manuel D'Souza, Chief Human Resources Officer, Intelenet Global Services, the traditional management approach of driving business at any cost has transformed in recent years to a great extent.

"Today's workplace environment appeals for an evolved approach to management style. When you, as an organization communicate with your employees, they want to know that you understand where they're coming from and what they're feeling. We've come a long way since the time when corporate culture frowned upon expressing emotion at work," said D'souza

Make Sure Employees Feel Heard:

With an empathetic manager or boss, the employee knows that their feelings will never be neglected.

D'souza further emphasized that the creation of an empathetic framework within an organization gives its employees a sense of self-sufficiency which in return enables them better understand what is expected of them and how they can achieve it.

"Empathy doesn't necessarily mean you agree. It's about helping an employee know he or she is being heard," she added.

Provide Right Training and Guidance:

Dr. Sharon Rajkumar, Happiness Evangelist, Happiest Minds Technologies feels empathy is the need of the hour.

"In a cut-throat and challenging work environment, empathy is an imperative. Empathy is a skill that can be developed with the right training and guidance. We have seen mindfulness training has proven to be effective in improving interpersonal relationships and building empathy among Happiest Minds," she said.

Applaud Your Employees:

For Kelvin Wazz, HR Manager, Zirca Digital Solutions, empathy at the workplace requires three things: listening, support and understanding. Wazz advised that managers can be become better bosses by listening to their employees.

" Applaud your employees for their successes as appreciation goes a long way in recognizing their hard work. Also, advise them on how they can improve their craft," he added.

Nidhi Singh

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific

A self confessed Bollywood Lover, Travel junkie and Food Evangelist.I like travelling and I believe it is very important to take ones mind off the daily monotony .

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