Personal Skills – Empathy


Empathy in the simplest manner can be defined as awareness of the emotions and feelings of others. No doubt empathy is considered among the key elements of emotional intelligence as it provides us with an insight into how others feel by placing ourselves in their shoes.

Empathy should not be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is feeling for someone and empathy on the other hand is placing yourself in the shoes of that person and feeling it along with him/her rather for him/her.

While empathy comes naturally to some people yet it is a skill that can be acquired and developed.

The 5 Elements of Empathy

Daniel Goleman identified 5 key elements of empathy let’s take a look into these.

·        Understanding Others

Daniel suggests that understanding others entails sensing their feelings and perspective besides taking an active interest in their concerns. He suggests that those who would like to understand others should

  • Look for emotional cues by listening well and paying close attention to non verbal communication and body language.
  • Show sensitivity and try to understand the perspective of the other person
  • Help others based on the understanding that they have developed of their feelings and needs.

·        Developing Others

Developing others according to Daniel stands for acting on the concerns and needs of others as a means to help them develop to their full potential. Daniel suggests that people in this area would

  • Praise and reward people for their accomplishments and strengths besides giving them constrictive feedback aimed at helping them improve
  • Provide coaching and mentoring to help others to grow to their full potential.
  • Provide assignments which would help them develop, grow and evolve.

·        Service orientation

This is primarily aimed for workplaces and stands for putting the needs of customers first and foremost with the sole aim to boost their satisfaction and loyalty. This is usually the trait of the most successful businesses who do not refrain from going to extra mile when it comes to meeting their customer needs and satisfying them.

·        Leveraging Diversity

This means bringing in and adding value from diversity in workplace. It stems from the belief that diversity helps bring diverse opinions which in turn brings in diverse perspective and broader horizons.

It also means that you tailor and cater your behavior to meet the needs and feelings of your diverse workforce keeping in view the individuality of each of these.

·        Political Awareness

Political awareness should not be confused with manipulative skills as it only stands for the ability and skill to sense and respond to the emotional undercurrents and power relationships of a group. Ones who are empowered with political awareness have the capability to steer through organizational relationships in an effective manner.


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