It's important to set a goal to step forward with empathy by communicating openly and effectively with clients, underwriters, and colleagues. You will better understand the other person’s thoughts and opinions when you:
- See things from the other person’s viewpoint, not your own.
- Validate the other person’s perspective. When you consider their point of view without judgment, it enables you to formulate strategies that serve the best interests of all involved.
- Examine your own attitude. If you are more concerned about being right, you will not win the game of empathy. Please ask yourself the following questions. Do I view a difference of opinion as competition? Or is my highest priority to appreciate the other’s opinion, and find an agreeable solution? Without an open mind, you will not be able to create mutual empathy with clients or associates.
- Listen 85% of the time. It is essential that you absorb the key words and phrases used by the other person. Listen with your entire being – your ears, eyes, instincts, and heart – with the goal of determining what the person is saying both verbally and with body language. Attempt to ascertain how they are feeling about the situation. When it’s time for you to respond, be encouraging and flexible. Watch the other person carefully for non-verbal cues that you are on target.
- Show respect. As a business leader, you will often have a better solution. However, a critical component of empathy is understanding, respecting, and sometimes implementing the other person’s point of view rather than forcing your own viewpoint. This point can significantly improve employee morale, enhance leadership trust, and positively impact customer and staff retention.
- Be authentic and share your own beliefs and experiences. On occasion, it is recommended that you show a vulnerable side. When you convey that you do not have all the answers and reveal your innermost feelings to another person, you create a strong empathic bond. Empathy is a two-way street that is built upon mutual understanding.
- Develop a creative vision. This is sometimes called “skill empathy” – the ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s position and to feel what they are feeling. Take time to mentally create an image of yourself developing an honest, dedicated interest in others. Understand the thinking and motivation of your clients and associates. Then, imagine how you can harness creativity to find a solution. Visualize yourself creating effective strategies leading toward a successful outcome. Picture yourself becoming interested in the lives of those around you.