Empathy Evolution (An Un-Empath’s Starter Pack)
Ever hear the words, “you lack empathy?” Chances are you have in some shape or form. When I did, it didn’t sit well and certainly not as truth. I often found myself caring and feeling a great deal in response to others, so how could it be true? A couple of years ago our team took the Clifton Strengths Finder test and to the sound of cackling laughter, the results ranked empathy as my 27th strength out of the 34. Something had to be done since you know, it is an attribute of significance. As a consultant, trainer, and in my personal life, I can attest to how empathy has enabled trust and genuine sharing of ideas.
Ahead are a few way points that may be useful if like me, empathy doesn’t come naturally to you.
Did I miss the memo?
Yes. Take the above statement about caring, feeling, and not knowing what could be lacking when it comes to empathy. Turns out that statement doesn’t relate much to what the word means. Like many things that are a struggle, I had to consider what degree empathy remained a blind spot. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel though. Strengths Finder articulates empathy as an instinctive ability to understand, “hear the unvoiced questions…anticipate the need.” Jedi mind trick, right? Truly successful collaboration with clients and colleagues, winning together, depends on understanding the need. What are us mere mortals to do?