Indispensability of Compassion in Empathy plus Kindness in the Workplace

Indispensability of Compassion in Empathy plus Kindness in the Workplace By : Maria Scunziano-Singh, M.D.

May 27, 2020

We all need to help make our workplace one in which we feel a sense of fulfillment, belonging, and real connection. Not only is this for the sake of each of us in our roles of service, but for those who we serve every day.

 

The attainment of these principles will only happen in the presence of three fundamental virtues: Compassion, Empathy, and Kindness. Not only are these vital to the working individual but to the success of a conscious company, business, workplace (or any group for that matter). Note: The word ‘in’ is important and noted below.

 

How easy is this to remember? Think: COME-IN-KIND

 

A bit of defining always helps with message clarification.

 

 

Yes, they are different. A person can be empathetic and not necessarily compassionate or even kind. How so? Empathy implies an intellectual connection, but this may not lead to an act of kindness. For example, if a racist or degrading comment is made by one individual to an empathetic listener, the shared feelings may lead to unkind actions. The result of all of it can propagate through a team, an office, or an entire company.

 

On the other hand, if a person is having a moment of sadness over a personal loss, an empathetic person may motion with a comforting word or respectful embrace and offer to help ease the anguish. This is an example of compassion in empathy and kindness.

 

The quest to create the best workplace environment requires the interplay of management with team members to cultivate and nurture the triad of compassion, empathy, and kindness. The managers may guide the direction of an office with the team coming together to work on developing an optimal atmosphere. This is where everyone can exchange and feel a sense of camaraderie and security.

 

It is incumbent upon all administrators/managers to lead by example. The act of listening to and connecting with the staff is the sine qua non of a successful company.  Each manager taking personal responsibility for enhancing the understanding of colleagues and other staff is rewarding and extremely valuable. Conscious efforts to support is critical in the generation of excellence in the functionality of a workplace as it will lead to both staff and customer satisfaction.

 

The value of compassion, empathy, and kindness has been well-established by data. For example, in Businessolver’s 2017 Workplace Empathy Monitor report, empathy has a significant direct impact on employee productivity, loyalty, and engagement. The following were findings from the report:

 

 

Here are a few words on kindness:

 

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind, the second is to be kind and the third is to be kind.”-Henry James

 

Some important steps that all of us can follow to foster a benevolent empathetic work environment include the following:

 

  1. Listen carefully so that a colleague or co-worker senses your understanding and willingness to help. Remove distractions and cell phone use in a personal meeting.
  2. Avoid a trail of e-mails with strong under and overtones of frustration. Set time aside to talk in-person to a person seeking help, guidance, or resolutions to a problem.
  3. Ask for clarification respectfully if you do not understand another individual’s needs or concerns. This helps avoid misunderstanding and poor outcomes.
  4. Seek the help of another colleague to assist if you are unable to answer the needs of someone who is having a problem of some sort. Reassure the individual that you will do your best to help.
  5. Walk-in someone else’s shoes, as the old saying goes. It is the only way to understand someone. Keep an open mind and consider what the person has been through before you jump to an uncomfortable conclusion or react harshly.
  6. Assumptions can be wrong. Do not make them. Learn facts and have full clarity. Stress at home can be causing irritability in a person’s attitude or performance.
  7. Kindness in words goes a long way. Give thanks, compliment what you see and let your co-workers know that you care.
  8. Reach out to help someone who appears to be hurting but may not verbalize out of fear or shame. A simple ‘are you ok?’ can be very helpful to a person in distress.

 

The time to help make your workplace a pleasant and rewarding experience is now. When you take a pro-active role in this cause, the return on your investment will be all worth it.

Remember to COME-IN-KIND…

 

Thank you for your time in reading this message.

Peace, wellness, and respect for all.

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