Although often used interchangeably, empathy and sympathy are fundamentally different. Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection.
Empathy–one of the five ingredients of emotional intelligence (EQ)–is relevant in diverse professions. It is the ability and willingness to sense others’ emotions, understand their perspectives, and take an active interest in their concerns.
The S.E.T. interaction (support, empathy, and task) can be very helpful in successfully demonstrating empathy. Support involves showing that you understand the person’s situation; empathy is acknowledging the person’s difficulty; and task requires moving to “let’s figure out how we can solve this”.
There are four (4) qualities of empathy:
- Perspective taking (the ability to take the perspective of another person)
- Staying out of judgement (not easy!)
- Recognizing emotion in other people
With this approach, you should be ready and S.E.T. to effectively empathize in the workplace. Give our 5 question Empathy Self-Assessment a go to find out where you are in your empathy development journey and what you can do to improve!