Do you have empathy?
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. So, you share their values and see things from their perspective. Empathy is different from sympathy. And, it doesn’t mean feeling sorry for people. Though, it does mean being able to understand what they are thinking and feeling. You are able to establish trust.
The four different levels of empathy
There are four different level of empathy;
- Level 0. This is when you no show evidence that you understand the other person’s thoughts or feelings. This can be despite the person trying to explain what they are thinking and feeling. So, it is shown most obviously by callous and unthinking remarks
- Level 1 is when you show some understanding but at a very superficial level. You have only partial understanding. And the other person can feel confused and lack trust as a result.
- Level 2. This when you show you understand and accept. But you do not completely understand or accept.
- Level 3 is when there is complete understanding. You accept the other person’s feelings and thoughts.
When you accept that that someone thinks and feels in a particular way, you don’t necessarily approve of all their behaviour. No do you necessarily that behaviour is 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. You have a basis for trust.
Empathy and relationships
You cannot truly empathise with someone without listening, as well as observing verbal and body messages. And you show through your own voice and body language that you have understood. In other words you have to listen actively.
Empathy is key skill required in building strong relationships, It requires an open mind and the ability to accept difference.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link