Using Empathy to Build Relationships with Your Team

Tuesday, June 6 2017

I am often amazed when I facilitate group exercises about values. The number of participants who either do not believe that values support relationships, or when asked, admit that they do not live those values. Living these values requires using empathy. These values include:

  • Collaboration
  • Resolving Conflicts
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Belonging
  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Helping

Relationships are critical to our health, happiness and success, and building good relationships requires an investment of time. We must get to know others and develop a sense of empathy for them. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and learn to see the world from their perspective and care about what is important to them. With the foundation of empathy we can develop strong relationships that benefit both parties.

Take time with your team members and peers to discover:

Using empathy to understand what motivates each individual?

Is it recognition, money, challenging work, authority to make decisions, or title? Does your leadership style support the needs of others?

How best to communicate.

Are they fast thinkers or more analytical? How can you flex your style to reflect those traits, such as giving some individuals more time to reflect before expecting an instant answer? When is email preferred and when would face-to-face communication provide the best result?

Using empathy when giving feedback.

Honest and open feedback keeps team members on track and supports them in their professional growth.

What is important to each in terms of success?

Celebrate those successes.

Do you know their ambitions?

Where do they see their careers going? Are there career aspirations regularly included as part of your coaching sessions?

How they feel about coaching.

What would make coaching sessions more effective, and do they have an opportunity to share how they are feeling? Are any coaching sessions dominated by your needs rather than their needs? If you are not holding regular coaching sessions with your team members consider learning how to be an effective coach. An organization can benefit from skilled, focused coaching.

Consider discovering what people value and what is important to them, so you can build stronger relationships with your strategic partners including clients, suppliers, consultants and contractors.

When we develop strong relations with others it enhances our success in every area of our life.