Granted, always having to view the world from someone else’s perspective can be exhausting, conflicting and even time-consuming. And it’s likely to dilute your own convictions and opinions. But being empathetic is worth its every second in bullion. Here’s why it’s so important to weave empathy in everything you do.
Customer-centricity: Gone are the days of making a marker pen and then creating a market for it. Understanding your customers, their context, culture, preferences and habits is crucial to designing and delivering your product. Immersing yourself in your customer’s life makes your product or service part of their lifestyle. This is even more important for a bespoke B2B firm like ours – which is why we hold Discovery sessions to understand our customer’s business better.
Sane strategy: many strategies are dictated by lone wolves, or at best by intellectuals in an organisation, oblivious to ground realities. Your fancy strategy, totally disconnected from your people, is unlikely to take-off. But if you’ve a robust representation from the ranks, people who live among or have hooks into the grassroots, your strategy will get both buy-in and boost.
Caring culture: You see many leaders sampling life on the shop floor – it leads to understanding, appreciation and empathy. If you create a culture, have a set of shared values, and have a people philosophy that places a premium on individual needs and growth – then voila! your empathy will be returned in higher productivity, loyalty and engagement, ie business success.
Prudent project management: if you’ve tried delivering a project without engaging the hearts and minds of your people, you know it’s twice as hard and three times more painful. Hear them out, and you could avoid many a pitfall. Brainstorm, and you will have a slew of options. Understand their working patterns, create the right workplace architecture, and find productivity skyrocket.
Obvious optics: sometimes, and as odious as it sounds, it’s important to be seen to be empathetic. It attracts the right talents, the right customers and creates the right buzz in the right circles. But it’s equally important that your empathy is authentic. People can see through spin in a flash and call you out – on social media in a tweet that goes viral. Then, ironically, there will be many, similarly bitten, who will empathise with you!