Empathy in the Workplace. What makes us skip it?

by Jun 1, 20163Plus, Communication, Leadership

Are we lacking empathy in the workplace?

Empathy in the workplace


In the last 8 months I have had more corporate clients initiate conversation on [Tweet ““how do we create more empathy within the workplace?””] then ever before. I am glad people are realizing
a) that it’s lacking and 
b) it’s a MUST have

Yet frankly, it scares the crap out of me that many people skip it as often as possible.

When I ask my sons to explain what empathy is, their simple reply is ‘to feel what the other person is feeling’.

When was the last time you did this?

Actually better question: how better would your every day be if we practiced this daily?


I have learned so much from the work Brene Brown has done including her work in Empathy. I think I have a girl crush on Brene… This video, less than 4 minutes, is one I use in my sessions to help participants get clear on what the difference is between empathy and sympathy and how to show empathy and be empathic.

Here’s the catch: You can watch the video. You can “get it” yet two days later what will has changed within your empathy level and your consistency in being empathetic with others? This is something to practice. Everyday. Always. Read: 3 Ways to Enhance Leadership Qualities with Empathy

Here’s my take on practicing empathy in the workplace

We show empathy different ways. Think about BEing real versus ‘doing it right’

  1. Breath.
  2. Breathe some more. Yoga & meditation rock for a lot of reasons. Breathe while giving empathy. Such a gift.
  3. Say little, be much. AKA be present, be there for THEM (not you) and feel.
  4. More breathing
  5. Practice & repeat

Why all the breathing? If you haven’t been practicing empathy in the past, it might have to do with your discomfort level with certain feelings. You breathing will help calm you, help center you so you can stay focused on being there for the other person, versus starting to focus on your response to the situation.


  • It’s about them. Not you.
  • Solving, fixing and making things better is not empathy
  • It’s okay to show feelings
  • It’s okay to not know what to say yet it’s not okay to drop the person in front of you because of your lack of comfort.

You have nothing to lose & a whole lot to gain.
Go gain something 

Contact 3Plus for details of Leadership and Relationship Mastery Programs 

Originally Posted on April 20, 2015 by Nancy Milton

Nancy Milton Contributor
Leading through Intentional Communication Nancy Milton works with leaders to be better coaches and employees to be better communicators. Covering 40+ competencies under the leadership skills banner including tough conversations, trust, level two listening, diversity & inclusion, partnerships, performance coaching, change leadership and self awareness + confidence.
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