Sizing Up a Potential Employers Level of Empathy Before You Accept a Job

It may seem to be a trivial matter when looking for a job, but sizing up your potential employer’s level of empathy before you accept the job can keep you from many future regrets.

Empathy in an employer shows that he will take your welfare into consideration when making decisions that affect you within the company. Empathy is fundamental to good leadership. Without it, leaders have trouble gaining trust.

Any corporate or work setting needs leaders who are empathetic to those they lead. In the workplace, it means there is a cognitive understanding of the emotions and experiences of others that lead them toward appropriate actions.

Actions or decisions made by management must take everyone on various rungs of the ladder into consideration. Today, companies are beginning to realize the importance of empathy and are attempting to weave it into their company’s mode of operation.

While empathy may have been ignored by businesses in the past, social media and a change in the way workers think about their jobs have made it impossible for businesses to simply provide services or products without adding empathy to their strategy for success.

Empathy can be taught. It can be built upon just like physical exercise can build muscles. When people are taught to be empathetic and use that skill during interactions with others, business and relationships are vastly improved.

When customers and employees trust and see empathy in a company, they’re much more apt to display loyalty. Listening to others is one component of being empathetic. The companies that listen to their clients and employees rate higher in earnings and productivity than those companies that don’t.

Emotional intelligence also plays a part in a company’s leadership abilities. Leaders must be self-aware to gather the emotional intelligence it takes to be empathetic toward others.

During an interview with a prospective employer, pay attention to how closely the interviewer pays attention to what you’re saying or asking. If he doesn’t act interested and simply appears to want to finish the interview, you’ll leave unsure of the company’s fit for you.

Companies who manage without empathy usually will lack the skill to motivate employees – and an unmotivated employee won’t be as productive as one who is motivated.

Empathy is the critical skill needed to motivate and promote trust within a company. Employees tend to be more loyal to the company and elevate it to higher levels of productivity.

It’s doubtful that, without empathy, an employer will be interested in your opinions and needs. That could be an important part of your path to success, so be sure and consider that trait before you decide to sign on with a company.

Perfecting Your Communication Skills Using Emotional Intelligence

Good communication skills are essential in today’s world. You use these communication skills on an everyday basis in some capacity. It could be social media, communicating with your loved ones, on the job or even shopping.

Using emotional intelligence (EQ) can help you attain success in life, whatever you choose to do. In any profession, you should be able to maturely define the signals from other people. The correct definition is important to the way you react to them.

It could be in words on social media or face to face with a client. Whatever the venue, using your EQ will help to ensure a good outcome. Understanding, empathizing and negotiating effectively all depend on your emotional intelligence.

We now have the ability to communicate with others on a global basis – making it even more important to read and understand emotions rather than relying on your knowledge of language.

When you learn and practice your emotional intelligence you become more self-aware – able to connect with your true feelings and emotions and the effects they’re having on others you’re attempting to communicate with.

With self-awareness comes self-confidence. This helps you realize what you’re capable of achieving and be confident of your self-worth. Self-awareness and self-confidence are two of the most important building blocks of success in life.

After you achieve self-awareness and self-confidence you’ll be able to control your emotions by getting rid of anxiety, depression and anger. Using the techniques of emotional intelligence to regulate yourself keeps you from giving in to impulses that could hamper your success.

Motivation is another area of emotional intelligence that you can learn to control. It’s difficult to motivate yourself and remain motivated unless you have reachable goals and are thinking positively about them.

An improved emotional intelligence can help you catch those negative thoughts and emotions and re-invent them into a more positive thinking process. Empathy is also gained through emotional intelligence.

Business and personal relationships thrive when you’re able to recognize subtle (and not so subtle) feelings in others. They may be saying one thing – and meaning another. Empathy helps you to know what others are feeling and react to them with controlled signals and emotions.

Building your social skills through emotional intelligence techniques will help you remain connected with others and is essential to your success in today’s world. Social skills are necessary if you want to persuade and influence others.

You can better understand how to send precise messages that communicate exactly what you want to get across and build bonds with relationships in your business and personal life.

A high IQ isn’t a measure of how successful you can be. Your EQ determines how well you can negotiate, understand and empathize with others – and that is the true path to success in your daily life and career.

Is It Possible to Be a Leader and Have Empathy for Others?

Empathy is a trait that every great leader should have to be effective in their leadership role. Empathy requires self-awareness and without knowing your true self and what you value, you can’t be empathetic toward others.

Leaders who cultivate their emotional intelligence tend to have empathy for others. They don’t judge and are good listeners and totally focus on the person who is speaking and whom they are speaking to.

Great leaders also consider the perspective of others, even though it doesn’t sync with their own. Appreciation of another’s beliefs and an understanding of what they’re going through in their lives is a quality that makes leaders stand out.

When a leader leads with emotional intelligence and the empathy that comes with it, he or she builds trust among those they are leading. The employees or followers have faith that the leader will take his feelings into consideration and trust him to help them succeed.

A leader who cultivates empathy is emotionally intelligent and is able to disconnect from his beliefs and feelings and analyze those of others without letting his own feelings direct the outcome of a situation.

If employees or followers don’t trust their leader to take their feelings into consideration, they won’t trust his ability to help them succeed. When feelings are ignored among the workers, productivity suffers.

When a leader shows empathy it doesn’t mean that he or she is weak. On the contrary, it helps others trust and look up to their leader for guidance. Respect is necessary for any leader to succeed – empathy for others is an important tool to gain that respect.

A leader who shows empathy will also motivate others. When that happens, productivity increases and the morale of the workplace soars. Studies indicate that successful businesses are innovative and non-successful businesses become stagnant.

Research shows that harnessing that ability of a business to grow and remain innovative depends on the leadership and one intangible force – empathy. It’s the force that moves businesses to focus on the future and move forward to success.

It simply doesn’t work when leaders can’t relate to the people they lead. Each decision made for the company must involve true empathy and a logical rationale that comes from leaders with emotional intelligence.

Empathy is also the force behind how a business communicates within and with other businesses. When a business falters and fails, one of the causes is usually that their leaders haven’t focused on understanding the needs of others.

Empathy is a critical skill that all leaders must have to be effective. It comes from developing emotional intelligence and a self-awareness that transforms an ordinary person into a true leader.

How to Raise Kids with a Healthy Amount of Empathy

Unless you raise your kids with a good amount of empathy for others, they may turn out to be bullies or unable to make friendships easily. Later on, those traits might carry through to their career paths and personal relationships.

Empathetic children tend to have a better outlook on the world and able to empathize with others in parts of the world that are not nearly as advantaged. They’ll tend to want to make the world a better place and have a spirit of thankfulness.

Although toddlers aren’t fully capable of understanding empathy, those just a bit over that age does have the capacity for developing an empathetic personality. And, the earlier you begin to teach your child, the better opportunity he has of being empathetic.

The best way a child can learn about empathy is to be a good role model. Addressing your child’s needs appropriately let him know that you’re empathetic to his needs. For example, if your child expresses hunger, but you don’t have dinner ready, validate the fact that he’s hungry and explain that the dinner has to cook before he can eat it.

You can also help him see emotions in others. For example, if you pick up your child at school and one of his friends is crying or distressed, you might ask your child if he knows why his friend was sad. That gets him to talking about and understanding emotions.

Use non-verbal as well as verbal ways to let your child learn emotions. You could use various facial expressions and ask if he can guess how you’re feeling. Use your voice to demonstrate happy, sad or angry emotions and ask your child to tell which you’re using.

Talk to your child about including other children who may feel left out. If a child is sitting alone at the lunch table, encourage your child to sit with him and begin a conversation. He’ll remember the good reaction of the child who was left out.

Your behavior and encouragement for empathy are good teaching tools. Give the child praise when he shows caring for another child – or animal – and if he exhibits bad behavior toward someone, discuss how things could be different to produce a better outcome.

Pretend play is also a good teaching tool for empathy. For example, you might ask if a certain teddy bear could sleep with him because the bear feels lonely sitting in the corner of the room.

Unfortunately, in our broken world, your child won’t always be rewarded with the same amount of empathy he gives to others. Always discuss that type of situation with the child and help him think of why the other person might act in a hateful manner.

Teaching your child that, no matter what the circumstances, other people deserve understanding and respect will be the foundation of empathy that his life is built upon.

How to Practice Having Empathy When You’re Working on Emotional Intelligence

Empathy is another key to gaining emotional intelligence. Some people seem to be born empathetic while others spend all their time angry and always finding the negative in others.

Having empathy means you’re able to mentally put yourself on the opposite side of a situation and understand the other person’s emotions. It’s a skill that helps you connect with others in a positive way and also helps you feel good about yourself.

One way to make sure you add empathy to your quest for emotional intelligence is to listen – truly listen. That means you’re not looking off into the distance, checking your phone or thinking about something else when another person is talking to you.

Enter the conversation with another person by repeating what they said. This tells them that you were listening and understand their emotions about a situation. Practice withholding judgement about a person until you know more about them.

Look for ways that you and another person are similar rather than judging them on a first-time basis. That familiarity will help you become more open with the person and better able to understand where he’s coming from.

Take note if you’ve used catch phrases that show your prejudices. Phrases such as terrorists or gangsters come from your own prejudices and the only way to overcome them is to challenge yourself to see if the label is true or just a bias from your emotions on the subject.

Try to understand why you think that a single religion makes people terrorists or that all police officers have bad intentions. Know deep within that just because you think it’s a fact, doesn’t mean that it is.

Educate yourself about your prejudices and note the misinformation you might have that’s keeping you from being empathetic toward a group of people. Also, use your imagination to practice empathy toward others.

Try to imagine the suffering that others might be going through. The homeless on the street aren’t all mentally ill. Some have simply fallen on hard times and can’t pull themselves up for various reasons.

Imagine that you’re living on the streets and think about how you’d feel when you’re jeered at or have to sleep in the cold or eat from a garbage can. Your imagination can take you deep into your own psyche and help you to become more empathetic to others who live differently than you.

Practice treating people with respect, no matter how their philosophies differ from yours. Rather than stereotyping others, treat them as individuals and let them know that you recognize their importance.

Building empathy within your emotional intelligence works best if you’re able to be open with others. It’s a very difficult thing to do for some, but after you get the knack of it, you’ll find that your connection is deeper and you feel more satisfied with yourself.

Read. Research has found that people who read (especially fiction) have a better understanding and are more empathic towards others than those who seldom read. Building your emotional intelligence by practicing empathy is an important step in realizing your true potential.

How Pets Can Foster the Growth of Empathy in Everyone

There are many benefits for welcoming pets into your family. One of the best benefits is that they build empathy in your kids and yourself. You may have noticed at times that a very young child is happy and comfortable – they treat animals with care and love.

But, if a child is upset or has feelings of anger or powerlessness s/he might treat the dog badly – chasing, kicking or simply harassing an animal. If a child has no empathy for animals, it’s doubtful that s/he is very empathetic of others in the family or in school.

You can show your children and other members of the family how to be empathetic to animals and gain some empathy yourself. Give children responsibilities for the pets in your home. Teach them how to brush the pet or to be sure they have food and water.

The time and effort your children take to care for their pets will help them realize how much of an impact they have on the pets’ lives. You can also teach your children to be assertive if you have dogs for pets.

Teaching children how to issue commands to train their dog helps them learn assertiveness and take pride in what they’ve accomplished. Even if you don’t have cats or dogs as pets, children can learn empathy with pets such as a goldfish, bird or turtle.

Pets tend to give unconditional love, and that’s important for children to experience. The pet becomes more of a friend – one that he can talk to and hang out with when others are unavailable. The pet won’t judge the child and will likely be sensitive to a child’s moods.

A pet teaches a child that it is a safe place for the child to share their emotions without judgement or fear of retribution. The child becomes more confident because he can work out his emotions by verbally pouring them out to his pet.

As the child realizes his role in taking care of a pet, he becomes more in tune with the animal’s needs. That responsibility and caring attitude will follow him into adulthood and make his more aware of others’ needs.

Your child is less apt to become a bully if he has the responsibility of a pet. Bullies tend to have very little empathy toward others, but when your child experiences comforting an animal that is ill or scared of thunder and rain, he learns how to feel empathy.

And, it isn’t only children who can benefit from having a pet to care for. Adults who grow up with very little empathy can learn to be empathetic and having a pet is one way to achieve it.

Pets are also comforting to those who have experienced stress or trauma in their lives – such as PTSD or other physical and emotional challenges. Empathy can be learned, and some of the best teachers have four legs.

Don’t Let Your Empathy Run Rampant

Empathy is a human trait admired by everyone. But, you should know the dangers of unchecked empathy that can get you in a world of trouble and give you a reputation that could haunt you in career and personal relationships.

Over-the-top empathizers risk being hurt by those who would take advantage of a person’s good nature. Empathy for a loved one can result in anger if you perceive that they’re being threatened by an outside force.

For example, if you have a child in school and s/he comes home crying one day because a teacher (or another student) treated her badly, your empathy for your son or daughter makes you angry at the person who hurt her feelings.

You might feel aggressive toward the person who hurt your child and have thoughts of hurting him or her. Emotional intelligence can help you turn those thoughts into another type of thinking process that leads you to settle the situation in a calm manner rather than letting your aggressive nature play out in the wrong way.

Empathy-based guilt can also cause problems in your life. You’ve likely heard of people who survive a catastrophe such as an airplane crash who can’t get over their feelings of guilt for having survived when others didn’t. That is empathy-based guilt.

Those who suffer from empathy-based guilt may go into deep depression that keeps them from being productive or responsive to their families. They’re so mired in grief and empathy toward others who didn’t survive that they may lose everything if they don’t seek help.

Too much empathy can destroy a relationship. Empathy in a relationship can have a negative effect if you can accurately tell if your partner is becoming bitter or seeking revenge in the relationship.

While feelings of love can help restore a relationship, feelings of empathy can eventually destroy it. You can also be manipulated because of empathy. Some people (psychopaths, especially) seek to take advantage of those who empathize with them.

Letting people take money or other type of help from you because you’re sensitive to their suffering could take a toll on your own life and those around you. Empathy can be a good thing – but only if you use your emotional intelligence along with it.

There are three types of empathy you may have – cognitive empathy, which is when you can put yourself in another’s situation and understand how they feel. Emotional empathy is when your emotions are similar to another person and you can actually feel what they are feeling.

Compassionate empathy is when you make the effort to help another person because you feel a need to respond. All types of empathy can be good and add meaning to your life unless you let it run rampant and become a negative impact in your own life.

Can Empathy Be Learned?

Empathy is the ability to understand another’s point of view – to mentally put yourself in the other person’s shoes and know what they’re feeling and why they’re acting a certain way.

Although empathy is innate in humans, it is increased or decreased from life experiences. Traumatic experiences tend to have the most impact on the level of empathy from one person to another.

The environment you’re born into also has an effect on how much empathy you’ll have as an adult. The customs and thinking process of the culture you’re born into also impacts how you might view others.

A child’s behavior model(s) such as parents also shapes the capacity for empathy. Sometimes a very empathetic person can even feel the emotions that another person is having.

Empathy and sympathy are different – with empathy you understand another’s behavior or emotions on a deep level. Sympathy also helps you understand another’s circumstances, but you don’t feel deeply about it.

Empathy is definitely a skill that can be learned – but, just like being an artist, you must have some capacity to make it a skill that works for you. You can learn what it is, acquire the knowledge of how it’s used and even hone it to reach higher levels.

You must understand yourself before you can understand others. Having empathy for yourself is a prerequisite to having empathy for others. After you gain an understanding about why you think and feel the way you do, you can begin the quest to understand others.

Teaching yourself to be empathetic and understand others takes a huge commitment on your part and much practice. You can practice being empathetic by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and thinking about why a person might be behaving or feeling a certain way.

Being able to communicate your empathy for others in a non-verbal manner is a higher level of empathy. It comes after the ability to demonstrate empathy. There are several ways you can increase your empathy for others.

Truly listening to people is one way. When you’re tuned in to what the other person is saying and note their non-verbal cues such as body language, you’re better able to communicate effectively.

It sounds simple, but when you smile at people, you’re releasing chemicals in the brain that make you feel good – and empathetic toward others. The person you’re smiling at can feel a connection with you.

Encouraging others is a great form of empathy and can be a great way to build a good relationship. Also, attempt to understand (empathize) with others who don’t share your belief system. Rather than attacking their beliefs, encourage them to share.

You can monitor your quest for empathy by periodically taking stock of your relationships with others – at work and in your personal life. Empathy can strengthen your relationships and help you achieve good things in your life.

Are You Tone Deaf or Empathetic?

Tone deaf literally means that a person can’t distinguish the difference in musical notes – but metaphorically, it means that a person is insensitive or un-empathetic to others emotions and feelings.

There is a mistaken assumption that happy, upbeat people are more sensitive and empathetic than others. They might have more confidence, but that doesn’t mean they can read people well and empathize with them.

The fact is that upbeat people can recognize emotions similar to their own, but sometimes lack the ability to empathize with those who are sad or downtrodden. When you’re being insensitive, you’re disregarding the appropriate behavior and going along with your own emotions.

For example, making fun of or saying something insensitive to a disabled person shows that you lack empathy for what the other person is going through. The more empathetic you are, the better able you will be to take into consideration other peoples’ emotions.

Insensitivity can ruin your reputation and relationship with others. You can learn to be more sensitive by learning how to be self-aware. Self-awareness is the first step to becoming a genuinely empathetic person.

When you’re self-aware you’re better able to grasp how the other person is feeling and how they might react to certain situations. You can teach yourself to become more self-aware by interacting with others about their emotions.

Realizing you’ve been insensitive to another person should make you want to practice being more empathetic. Try to place yourself in the position of the other person and think about how you would feel and react in the same predicament.

The old adage of walking a mile in another person’s shoes can help you tune in to the emotions of others. You can also practice empathy by being around others with opposite views than yours.

For example, consider attending a church service of another faith or befriending people who come from a different culture than you. Rather than ridicule them in your mind and think that you’re superior, find the goodness in the church or culture and imagine what it might be like for you to be in the same place.

As you begin to tune in to others’ emotions, you’ll begin to treat others as important and you will likely see the change in how others react to you. Rather than lumping people into a certain stereotypical group, take each person and get to know them individually.

You may be surprised that what you thought was a label that fits everyone in a group isn’t true at all. Every person has particular strengths and problems – many similar to yours.

Practice empathy to help yourself become less insensitive to others and to find out the world has much to offer rather than a narrow perspective of things.

Are You Being Objective with Your Empathy?

Objectivity means that you’re able to step out of your way of thinking and take into consideration another person’s point of view. It helps a person judge without being partial to his own views or external influences.

Empathy means that you also step out of your own viewpoint and consider the other person’s. With empathy, you can become so mired in the other person’s problems that you can’t see things clearly and can’t be objective in your attempt to help others.

With too much empathy, you can drown in another person’s emotions and be unable to help them. But, seeing a situation as another sees it is invaluable to building relationships, both at work and in personal situations.

You may wonder – especially when you’re angry – how a person doesn’t see things like you do. Your beliefs may be so strong that you can’t be objective. Building your ability to be empathetic you can put yourself in that person’s shoes and see how he could think the way he does.

It’s difficult to overcome feelings of empathy toward another – especially if you’ve had the same experiences. For example, veterans who return from war with PTSD and other types of trauma may have a problem being objective to those who agree with the other side.

Objectivity is hard to come by when you’ve been hurt or when your emotions run high about certain subjects. It’s a challenge to some to be objective and empathetic at the same time, but it’s a good trait to have.

You’ve probably heard of judges who have to recuse themselves from a case because they can’t be objective about it. Perhaps one of the parties was a relative of the judge – or the judge may have been traumatized over a similar incident.

Judges are trained to be objective, but sometimes it’s just not possible. Juries are also chosen based on their ability to be objective. They’re often asked if they have ever been in a similar situation as the person on trial, which might cause them to be too empathetic and unable to render an objective decision.

Some people consider objectivity the same as neutrality. It represents a true independence from the emotions a person might feel about a situation and what he knows to be the truth.

By using emotional intelligence, people can usually balance their ability to be objective with their ability to be empathetic. Since emotional intelligence helps us to be more self-aware, we’re better able to realize when our empathy is interfering with our empathy or emotions.

When you begin to feel empathetic about a person or a situation, take a moment to ask yourself if you can also be objective. That will help you make the best decisions possible.