- Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.
Empathy: The Expression of the More Highly Evolved
Organizations with an Emotionally Intelligent workforce are more productive and profitable. Your relationships are more fulfilling and healthier when you incorporate the dynamics that make you Emotionally Intelligent. Who wouldn't want that? (This is where no one raises a hand).
Empathy vs. Sympathy. Most people can't explain the difference. That should change. To benefit from the value it can provide, learn the difference and practice the skills that being empathetic can provide.
Sympathy is important but less dynamic. Sympathy is the recognition of someone's suffering. It has value in that it gives comfort and assistance to those in need. Empathy is way more personal. It is a building block for better, more highly evolved relationships. Empathy is the actual sharing of another's suffering. With empathy, you are putting yourself in another person's shoes giving you an unspoken understanding that is essential to connecting with others.
Here's how you do it:
Empathy: "I know what it is like to be a new hire here. Here are a couple ideas you might find helpful."
Sympathy: "You seem frustrated about being new to this organization. What can I do to help?"
For a deeper emotional connection and to increase your own Emotional Intelligence, practice Empathy - the expression of the more highly evolved.