In this episode of Faithful on the Clock, you’ll learn why empathy helps your company’s bottom line and how it helps you fulfill the second commandment to love your neighbor as you lead. Need to build your empathy? You’ll get three practical tips on how to do that, too.
[00:06] - Intro
[00:38] - Leaders are shifting from a product-centric mindset to a relationship- or human-centric mindset.
[01:55] - Why leaders are putting more emphasis on empathy
[03:35] - The old way of thinking is gone, but you can be confident that empathy is financially helpful.
[04:00] - Behaving empathetically is scripturally supported in the story of Adam and Eve.
[04:22] - The story of Lazarus shows that Jesus had empathy for others.
[05:23] - There are three main ways to build empathy.
[05:40] - Strategy #1: Experience stuff
[06:26] - Strategy #2: Shift how you listen
[07:09] - Strategy #3: Ask tons of questions
[08:06] - There are other ways to build empathy, but these strategies are a good start.
[08:22] - Prayer
[09:18] - Outro/what’s coming up next
What’s coming up next:
How does good self-discipline benefit you at work? Is there a way to help others be more self-disciplined as you go? That’s coming up in Episode 7 of the Faithful on the Clock podcast.
Welcome, everyone. I’m your host, Wanda Thibodeaux, and this is Faithful on the Clock, the podcast all about getting your faith and work aligned. In today’s episode, we’re talking about one of the most critical elements for great business--empathy. Stick with me to learn what makes it so essential and how you can boost your own empathy with others. Let’s get started.
So for today’s episode, I want to begin by talking about the product-to-consumer mindset shift that’s been happening across industries. And all that means is, in the past, businesses were very much centered around their offerings. At least in my view, it was all about making sure that the product or service was the absolute best in the market and that it reached a lot of people. And people had this concept that business was business, personal was personal, it was like oil and water, they just didn’t mix.
Now, though, what you see is that leaders, they still want a fabulous product or service that’s really developed well, but they’re very concerned with creating long-term relationships with their customers and employees. And during the pandemic, I really think that that exploded, because everyone was under so much stress and had so much to do and deal with. Companies were really looking to show they understood what people were going through and to deliver whatever they needed in a much more multi-faceted and human way. And in fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out and actually said that mental health is the next crisis we need to prepare for, and that it’s a business imperative rather than just a nice-to-have.
01:55W Public Relations:
Leaders also know that people have a basic need to feel heard. When people feel like you’re really listening to them, they usually end up letting their guard down a little bit and trusting you more. It opens lines of communication I think that otherwise wouldn’t be open. And that has a huge influence on how positive the work culture is, the view customers have of your company, those kinds of things. It keeps morale up so people can be productive, and customers have a good experience and stay loyal.
So empathy, this ability to read emotional cues and respond to them well, it absolutely counts. And that old way of, you know, being strictly professional and not letting anybody see you be vulnerable or personal, that’s gone. You can be really confident that behaving in a compassionate way has real benefits that support your company financially.
But you also can be confident that behaving empathetically is the right thing when you look at scripture. Right away in Genesis 2:18, for example, when God’s creating Adam and Eve, he says “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” So we’ve been made to have connection and support right from the start.
04:22around him. Then, in Matthew:
So how can you be more empathetic, aside from maybe taking some formal training that would help you, you know, there’s things like, that will help you read cues like vocal pacing or body language better? In my view, there are three big ways.
First, just go out and experience more stuff. You know, go travel, try hobbies, just talk to people, learn about different cultures. Get out of your rut. Because all of that broadens your perspective and it helps you get out of your mental box, and it gives you a way better understanding of how other people might interpret or see everything. But you know, being realistic here, experiencing things is something you’ll do for the rest of your life. You’re going to encounter situations where the other person has experienced something that you haven’t. In those situations, just be open-minded. Use your imagination. Think about what you’d probably think or feel if you were in the other person’s shoes.
Secondly, shift the way you listen. One reason I think people aren’t very good at empathy sometimes is that they spend the entire time someone else is talking just thinking about how they’re going to respond. They spend the whole time worrying about impressing the other person or trying to figure out how to direct the conversation where they want it to go. Just cut that stuff out, OK? Focus on what you’re learning, what new information you’re taking in. Really take the time to let the other person finish first and THEN think through your answer. SO just practice active listening as much as you can.
Lastly, ask tons of questions. A lot of the time, we don’t really understand other people or pick up on what they really need because we let our biases and assumptions get in the way. And sometimes we don’t have all the pieces to really get a clear picture that will let us respond in the right way. Asking questions means you have a chance to correct those biases in favor of the truth, and it lets you get those pieces that might be missing. And from my own experience, I know that when people have asked questions instead of just telling me their thoughts, it really did made me feel like they were making more of an effort to get it right and not misinterpret.
So to summarize the three main ways to build empathy real quick, #1, have more experiences, #2, be an active listener, and #3, ask questions.
Now, there are a lot of other good ways to build empathy, too. For example, any kind of mindfulness practice that helps you be personally more aware of your feelings will help you more easily recognize those emotions in others. But these tips are at least a start.
So as you think about how to make them part of the way you operate at the office, let me pray real quick.
God, you have felt every emotion, from anger to joy to sorrow. And Psalm 139 says, even before a word is on my tongue, you already know it. You made us to feel and connect, because YOU do. So help us to pay attention, to not miss those cues, not just so that our companies do better, but also so that we can be the connected, compassionate leaders you need us to be, and who represent who you are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
We’ve reached the end of the episode folks. Next time, I’ll be talking about discipline. How does good self-discipline help you get ahead, and what can you do when others get off track? Until then, be blessed.