Why empathy is such a golden trait

In almost every modern workplace, there seems to be an overarching set of traits and soft skills that are needed to benefit successful business growth. Competitiveness, innovation, leadership, motivation, positivity, flexibility, and confidence (among others) are considered the hallmarks of a productive workforce and this is undoubtedly true.

Competitiveness, Success, and Empathy

As individuals, a high level of drive allows us to tenaciously pursue our goals in what is often seen as a dog eat dog environment. Those who do not push the boundaries and utilize their unique skills to drive their way forward often get left behind, so if in doing so, we are not directly harming others, what’s the harm in maintaining this winning attitude?

Well, nothing really. You’ll likely succeed in your goals and work your way to the top, but once you’re there, how long do you think you can keep the momentum of success without others to buoy you up?

That’s where empathy comes in.

Why is Empathy important?

The power of empathy can help you open up so many positive doors of communication and understanding. It helps you create win-win solutions that benefits everyone around you.

The secret of many successful people

This may surprise you, but did you know that empathy is identified (not always directly by name) by most successful people as the one thing that has helped them to maintain success? That’s right – with an ability to connect with and relate to their colleagues and customers, successful leaders have been able to thrive!

Doggedly pursing your goals while steamrolling everyone else along the way will eventually enable you to dominate; however, somewhere along the way, you’ll need to rely on other people to help you. Whether these people are colleagues, professional connections, friends, or family; great leaders understand the difference between simply being pleasant to others and taking a true interest in their needs and emotions to form strong, lasting connections.

Making better connections

Empathy goes beyond understanding others though. It also involves an understanding of each individual’s connection to the people and the environment around them and involves an ability to adapt in order to accommodate the needs of others.

Empathetic leaders are able to benefit from this trait by building on the strengths they see in the people around them, predict the needs of others to avoid disruption and conflict and remain aware of the wants of the people he or she associates with (or markets to). On both an individual and business level, the loss of this empathetic ability can result in a disconnection from colleagues, customers and the environment needed to sustain success.

Gives you a better level of understanding

A rather corny but apt example of the benefit of empathy can be seen in the 2000 film, ‘What women want’. In this movie, the lead character (played by Mel Gibson) is a chauvinistic adverting executive who almost never utilizes empathy. After a freak accident, he finds that he can suddenly hear the internal thoughts of the women around him.

Being able to gauge the emotions and thoughts of his market audience instantly gives him an ultimate edge, allowing him to produce advertisements that speak to women like never before; however, he still has many issues with his colleagues, due to his past unempathetic behavior. It isn’t until later in the film that the lead character develops a true understanding of empathy, which boosts his success, wins him the girl of his dreams, allows him to reconnect with his estranged daughter and basically, makes his life fantastic.

The Bottomline

Overall, empathy – which is a trait that can be strengthened the more you use it – allows for mutually beneficial relationship development that cultivates and encourages understanding, potential, positivity (and therefore, happiness), openness and growth – all of which are guaranteed to lead to success.

The CFS Team
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