How Empathetic is Your Organization?


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Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings, thoughts and experiences of another person, and it is a common research topic because of its importance in human interaction. In his popular blog “The Squeaky Wheel,” Dr. Guy Winch observes a tendency among clinical psychologists to over-focus on a relative presence or absence of empathy. Dr. Winch writes that, “what matters is not whether we have empathy, but whether we know how to have empathy.” Hence the key concern of research should be the ability to access feelings of empathy as an effective interpersonal behavior.

In the past decade, empathy has gained acceptance as an important feature of business communication. Marie Miyashiro’s book, The Empathy Factor, brilliantly articulates the value of bringing empathy to the workplace by adopting specific communication strategies. Dr. Winch shares Miyashiro’s belief that kind, respectful presentation of an issue elicits superior employee productivity – especially those on the front line of a business.

I’ve written in the past about “getting” the customer experience, where what I mean by “getting it” is the vivid, emotional account of the customer’s experience with your company. I stress the need for employees to “get it” because empathy is an emotional state as opposed to a cognitive reflection about another person’s experience.

Empathy is a teachable skill. Ideally, we can help your company successfully screen employees for the predisposition for empathetic behavior. However, since empathy is teachable, we can help guide your employees through the customer experience until they reach the ‘aha moment,” moving from a conceptual grasp of empathy to an intuitive, core emotional state of “getting it.”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.


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