Strengths Insights Part 16: Empahy
Welcome to Part 16 of the Strengths Insight Series. Each week we look at a different Strength from the Gallup StrengthsFinder® framework. Reading these posts will give you an insight into those you work and live with.
Empathy – Relationship Building
You can sense the emotions of those around you? You can feel what they are feeling as if their feelings are your own? Intuitively you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each persons predicament – this would be sympathy, not empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand. This instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You hear the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need.
Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone. You help people find the right phrase to express their feelings – to themsleves as well as to others. You help them give voice to their emotional life. For all of these reasons other people are drawn to you.
The framework, “The Evolution of an Idea” helps leaders and managers to build a team of diverse and complimentary people. In essence an organisation’s purpose is to reveal and develop ideas into valuable service to mankind, or a part thereof. The framework helps people fit in so their contribution is valued.
Empathy is a vital strength for the Host. People are drawn to someone with the Empathy Strength because they feel understood, even when the organisation might appear to be uncaring.
For more about “The Evolution of an Idea” http://www.strengths.nz/products/three-essential-frameworks/
Tips for maximising the value of your Empathy Strength.
- Celebrate your gift of being in touch with the thoughts and feeling of others.
- Practice naming the feelings you experience and observe in others. Help other name their feelings.
- Build rapport for letting them know you understand how they feel.
- Help your colleagues to be aware of how people feel.
- Sometimes the most powerful way to communicate an understanding is silence. Contemplate and reflect on situations with the question; “would silence be more effective in this specific moment?”.
- Be couageous, act decisvely when you are called on to apply your Empathy Strength in bringing into the open behaviour that might be causing adverse feelings in a colleague.
- Partner with someone with Command or Activator Strength when your Empathy Strength alerts you to a need for change in behaviour.
Managing people who have Empathy in their Top 5 Strengths.
- Ask him to help you understand how other people are feeling.
- Check in with her feelings when you ask her to do something. Remember his feelings are as real for him as night and day are for you.
- Pay attention when he cries although you may not respond. It is important to witness someone crying but there is nothing to be gained by joining in.
- Test him to see how much he trusts his intuition when making decisions that involve people.
- Ask her to work with positive and enthusiastic people. Better for her to pick up on positive rather than negative emotions in her regular work.
- Support him to see his Empathy Strength as a gift, especially if he works in a group of people, for whom denial of emotions is helpful in achieving goals. And example is where people need to push through pain to complete a task on time.
How many NZers have Empathy in their Top 5?
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