What place does empathy have in your business?
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Maybe it is not immediately obvious how much empathy, in a business setting, is linked to profit. And by empathy, I mean the ability to understand and share the feelings of our client, our colleague, our boss, our customer...
- You cannot operate with feelings in a business setting.
- Yes, that's what we used to think.
- People still think that.
- Well, some people do, and they tend to subscribe to the old model. It serves a lot of purposes, and also there is a ton of distinctions that need to be made. But if you went back to a moment in time when you, as an employee, had your feelings dismissed by a colleague or a boss, tell me, how did it feel?
I could bet it felt very similarly to being dismissed by a friend or a family member. Uncomfortable, perhaps hurtful, unfair, unjustified, excessive, unnecessary...
Can you imagine this being repeated on a regular basis? Some people can as it has happened to them. The consequences of what looks like a minor exchange are variable and can range from losing interest at work, losing motivation, losing the desire to form collegial relationships, heightened stress and anxiety, new beliefs about self-worth and confidence, unfolding of power plays, arguments, struggle to maintain presence and voice... and that is irrelevant to gender. These are some effects of feelings dismissal that a person can experience. The extension of that for a business is reduced productivity, higher turnover, reduced profits, increased costs, affected customer and client relationships, and affected reputation, as an unmotivated distracted and unsettled employee now has to prioritise the conscious or unconscious stability of their inner world in some shape or form because the person is always the priority, not something external.
And this is just one thread we followed.
Could you imagine the extensions and magnitude of this?
- What do you suggest, that we go to work and dump our feelings to the first person who listens?
- No, not at all. At this point, I am only suggesting a shift in perspective. The curiosity and desire to see that something we take for granted at home or we expect but we are denying from ourselves at work is not healthy for our well-being first and foremost, and secondly it has serious consequences for our businesses, which translates to the consequences it has on our livelihood, which translates to the consequences it has on our survival.
Do we stop being human when we walk out our front door and enter our work environment? Are our basic needs any different when we interact with a friend instead of a colleague? Have principles, systems, and theories which compartmentalise the person ever truly worked?
I think it boils down to the fact that we are more affected and influenced by each other than we think.
So, what if we just chose what is good for the human?
If you wish to instil a more person-oriented culture in your organisation and would like to benefit from professional support, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Constantina Stamou is a certified Strategic Intervention Coach, has trained with the Robbins-Madanes coaching school, is an NLP Master Practitioner, has attended Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery, and has a PhD in how we change the way we put sentences together as we grow older. Her work experience includes tutoring at her university, working for a charity, and entrepreneurship which has so far translated into the TNT Dance Salsa Club in London and her own Reformer Pilates Studio at Kensington Olympia, London, where she had the pleasure of working with her team of four teachers.