Empathy Based Communication as an Additional Leadership Skill

Christina Tziouvara

As empathy based communication, we define an effective way of communication, where the quality of empathy has the potential to create bonds among people. Skills related to empathetic communication can be applied to different relationship contexts, including professional frameworks.

Setting the Context of Empathy and its Expression

A crude definition of empathy could be summed up in the phrase of being in somebody’s shoes. However, empathy is a broad concept that contains many extensions; its theoretical context is defined as the establishment of communication, in which one has the ability to understand the way of thinking and sense the emotion of another person. In addition, the definition of empathy is being completed with the additional ability of understanding how this emotion feels like to that other person. However, displaying empathy is not necessarily linked to having had the same experiences in the past.

Expressing empathy can be found in the following skills:

  • Being a careful listener. Gradually, this skill that can be enriched by observing the other person’s body language; and, by responding. However, an empathetic person does not lead the conversation; on the contrary, this person follows the flow of the discussion.
  • Understanding the significance of the other person’s perspective on the subject. This skill is not about neglecting your own belief system; but, it is about being open-minded and acknowledging the difference, regarding how people process their own experiences.
  • Finally, the skill of acting upon the matter that is significant for the other person.

Cultivating Empathy Based Communication at Work

Applying empathetic communication in a working environment demands a different kind of skillset than the ones usually met in such frames. This skillset is a factor that contributes to the improvement of the working conditions, through establishing effective communication. Such workplace interactions can create bonds of support; enhance collaboration effectiveness; and, inspire employees. Apparently, the aforementioned skills may adapt and extend, according to the implemented frame. In terms of a working environment, an empathetic leader has the following qualifications:

  • An active listener has the ability to trace the spots of a conversation that need further exploration. Hence, asking precise questions can help an employer get to the bottom of a problem.
  • Your coworkers are people who lead lives that some of which may involve problematic situations. Hence, a useful approach could be not to rush into making assumptions.
  • Participating in a friendly environment equals to smooth working conditions. Hence, taking some time to build and maintain relationship with other employees is important.
  • Prioritizing the matters that need to be dealt with, is a key qualification at work. An extension of this skill could be that sometimes being productive and profitable is not more valuable than your employees.

Developing empathetic communication skills, in any relationship context, is a slow and continuing process. Once an empathetic connection builds up it can extend to form bidirectional relationships.

Establishing empathetic communication can be an element for the creation impactful working relationships. The sense of being heard and understood can be a strong motivation for a company’s workforce. Hence, we refer to empathy based communication, as a facilitating element that fosters balanced working conditions.

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