"And Empathy is all we need..."
Find out why empathy is more complex than you might think.
“And Empathy is all we need…”
In 1970, the band Rare Earth enjoyed a huge success with the song "Sympathy", during the Flower Power and Love Everywhere era.
The song is still popular today but would be even more relevant if the lyrics were: "…and empathy is all we need, my friend…".
Sympathy implies that you are able to identify with another's situation but it does not necessarily mean that you connect with the other person, and it certainly does not compel you to take action.
When defining our company culture, the word "empathy" came up several times. We, therefore, wanted to be sure that we had fully understood the concept. Without empathy, we keep a distance and only share interests or activities.
According to the English dictionary, empathy is "the power of entering into another personality and imagining/experiencing her/his experience".
One could say that it is the ability to be aware of the feelings and emotions of others.
In other words, understand and share emotions.
In his book “Emotional Intelligence”, Daniel Goleman describes the concept of empathy at length. It is definitely worth reading at least this chapter of the book.
In any job or role today, emotional intelligence is nearly as important – and sometimes more important – than intellectual intelligence.
Some companies test a person's EQ before making a job offer.
Empathy is a large part of this emotional intelligence, as it can be perceived as the ability to manage one's own emotions as well as the emotions of others. Why do we need empathy? It would appear that empathetic people enjoy a better well-being and experience stronger relationships.
We need empathy to connect with others. People without empathy will continue to be inconsiderate as they will never be aware of the pain they are causing.
Goleman describes three types of empathy:
· Cognitive empathy is understanding thoughts and emotions in a rational manner;
· Emotional empathy is 'catching' someone else’s feelings, as if their emotions were contagious;
· Compassionate empathy is not only understanding the feelings, but also spontaneously taking action to help if needed.
In the future, empathy, one of the components of emotional intelligence, will be a highly sought after skill. This is one of the findings of the Swinburn University of Technology and it was part of Jack Ma’s interview during the recent World Economy Forum. Jack Ma is the CEO of Alibaba, one of the largest companies in the world. Mr Ma said that we will never be able to beat computers – artificial intelligence. A computer, however, will never be a human. Make sure you have, or develop, those skills in order to express empathy towards others.
In conclusion, and as far as our company culture is concerned, does empathy coincide with what we aspire to convey?
We believe it does, as our values include: "We take care of people". This requires empathy to understand and genuinely feel. It is also based on certain components of empathy such as active listening, feeling concern and giving advice for the long-term benefit of all parties involved.
We hope you have a better understanding of the concept of empathy and why we see it as part of our culture.
Your Rainbow Team