why showing empathy in the workplace is important

Why showing empathy in the workplace is important

What is empathy in the workplace? 

It is your ability to understand and share the emotions and feelings of colleagues in your company. While some employees are naturally empathetic, others do not naturally think of the feelings of coworkers around them, which is fine because everyone can learn how to be empathetic at work. 

In this article, we delve into the importance of empathy and how every team member in your company can learn how to show empathy in the workplace. 

1. Discuss Empathy 

Inform team leaders about the importance of empathy. The majority of team leaders in companies perceive planning and monitoring tasks as more crucial than supervising how their team members perform.  

However, many studies indicate that caring, developing and understanding your colleagues is considered as more important, specifically in the current era of workplace environments. 

Share with the managers that spending time giving their team members love, tender and care can help develop empathy in the workplace. This in turn will result in the improvement of corporate performance. 

2. Let your team learn to listen effectively 

Be a great example for your team yourself by practicing the following active listening techniques, namely, paying attention, withholding judgment, reflecting, clarifying, summarizing and sharing.  

You need to listen with a purpose by listening to understand the meaning behind what others are trying to communicate.  

Not only the words being said are important, the nonverbal elements like facial expressions, gestures, pace of speech and tone are just as essential. What others say and how they say it are equally important.   

Allowing your team to absorb these six techniques of active and effective listening can help encourage empathy in the workplace in the long run. 

3. Ask the right questions 

Besides listening effectively, asking the right questions can help you and your team see the real root cause of the issues your coworkers are encountering. 

Make sure your team ask the right questions politely and impartially and offer help when they see their colleagues that they are having problems.  

Those in trouble need inspiration and motivation around them to be able to solve their issues more effectively and efficiently. 

4. Put yourself in others’ situations 

Putting yourself in others’ places means that you should stay open-minded and never make judgments right away.  

Whenever you see your team members especially new employees in any trouble, always keep an open mind and share with them that you have had a hard time before as well. Also give them some advice on how to get through those problems in a polite way. 

Meanwhile, you should think of the previous time you had a rough day. This perception would certainly assist you in a sense that you can control the situation and react to other people more even more positively. 

5. Develop compassion at work 

Encourage team leaders who pay attention to the feelings and emotions of other colleagues, clients and communities. Do allow them to reflect and respond to the compassion. The following examples demonstrate how compassion can be developed in the workplace. 

Be compassionate towards colleagues who share with you their personal loss 

All of us have all experienced personal loss in one way or another. Although you are unable to relate to the particular loss your team members go through, do show empathy and encourage them mentally and physically. 

After all, genuine friendships and empathy in the workplace are important. 

Recognize signs of excessive work in other colleagues 

Crises such as the spread of COVID-19 can cause lengthy and excessive stress. This then leads to burnout in which many employees input more working hours than previously. Some may find it hard to maintain a good work-life balance. 

To make empathy happen in the workplace, team leaders need to notice cues of overwork in other coworkers prior to work burnout becoming a problem. In fact, work burnout is one of the key reasons of employee turnover.  

As a team manager, what you can do is check in with your staff members and evaluate how they are dealing with their existing amount of work and also assisting them in getting over the state of overwork. 

Be authentic and sincere towards the hopes and dreams of other coworkers 

If you recognize your colleagues and team members in a way that matches their unique goals and needs with work assignments, this will help make them uplift their engagement and performance.   

Be willing to help other colleagues with personal problems 

It’s part of team leaders’ role to support team members who have personal issues particularly when they are in a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Team members have both professional tasks and personal issues to take care of. So, it’s best to support them in every way possible.  

Ask every team member to keep their lines of communication open and to encourage openness and help team members feel at ease discussing openly whenever it is needed. 


On the whole, practicing empathy in the workplace matters because it can help you gain a better understanding of your colleagues. This leads to better teamwork, more motivated and happier staff for your company.