Are you an empathetic manager?
Empathy is the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while and to see the world though their eyes! It means being able to suspend judgement, sharing their values and seeing things from their perspective. It is different from sympathy – it doesn’t mean feeling sorry for them. It does mean being able to understand what they are thinking and feeling and being able to establish trust.
The four different levels of Empathy
Classically there are regarded as being four different level of Empathy;
- Level 0 – this is when there is no evidence that the other person’s thoughts or feelings are understood. This can be despite the efforts of the person to explain what they are thinking and feeling. It can be shown most obviously by callous and unthinking remarks
- Level 1 – this is when there is some understanding but at a very superficial level. There is only partial understanding and the other person can feel confused and be lacking in trust as a result.
- Level 2 – this when understanding and acceptance are shown but there is not complete understanding or acceptance
- Level 3 – here there is complete understanding and acceptance for another’s feelings and thoughts.
Accepting that someone thinks and feels in a particular way, does not mean that you automatically approve of all behaviour which the individual thinks justified as a result. But it does mean that you can communicate with them and may be able to influence them in a positive way. It provides a basis for trust.
You cannot be truly empathetic with someone without listening, observing verbal and body messages and showing through your own voice and body language that you have understood. In other words you have to listen actively.
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