Creating an Empathetic Culture

One of the pandemic effects has been the widespread increase of mental health issues including stress, depression, and anxiety.  Organizational research conducted in 2017 and 2018 concluded that employees who worked for an empathetic leader experienced significantly less job burnout and chronic stress.  Workers reported higher levels of job satisfaction and work engagement.

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An empathetic leader is someone who demonstrates interpersonal warmth and caring for others.  When leadership models these behaviors, others follow.  It improves the emotional culture of an organization and encourages positive behaviors between team members. 

Developing empathy among management and coworkers improves outcomes for productivity and retention of employees at all levels of the organization.

Conscious Empathy – empathic concern and compassion in action – can be accomplished with these interpersonal skills:

  1. Appreciating a person’s inherent value
  2. Treating others with respect and fairness
  3. Affiliating with others
  4. Having a collaborative rather than competitive orientation

The emotions that you show are contagious – like a virus! – so catch people doing something right and create an environment where you show others positive emotions like respect, trust, honesty, and cooperation. 

These can be achieved through connection and communication on the individual, team and organizational levels.  Expressing the values is a start but reinforcing them in action creates an authentic cultural value.