As leaders and managers, we all tend to run into conflict. You’re not always going to perceive a situation in the same way that everyone else does. When working with colleagues, it’s not a matter of being right, it’s about listening to another person’s perspective. And more importantly, letting them know that you’ve heard them by reflecting back their communication. When we can say “I hear you”, it deepens the exchange between two people.

Empathy is Good for Each Person

The first step towards building connection when conflict arises is to demonstrate empathy towards another person. Empathy is about feeling and understanding the experience of others. In that process, you are figuring out what is really going on for the person in a kind and nurturing way. Using empathy can also be good for you, as it lowers stress levels and regulates our emotions.

Research shows that empathy is one of the most important leadership skills.  It can help you identify troubling signs and behavior among your employees.  By ignoring these challenges, people can become frustrated and detached which is a guaranteed formula for turnover.  By demonstrating sincere empathy and compassion with a good dose of listening, you can allow people to open up, speak their minds and work towards resolution.  If you listen attentively to them, then they might be willing to consider advice in return.

 Empathy Builds Safety and Discourages Bad Behavior

If leaders build a company culture around empathy, it builds safety and trust among people. It also helps people identify acceptable behavior when interacting with each other, lessening the tendencies toward bad behavior, which can occur when there is anger, hurt and misunderstandings. At it’s best, empathy strengthens a moral code that creates a healthier work environment which benefits everyone, from leaders to employees and builds respect and a sense of value in relationships.

For other related articles, please read:

Handling Conflict in the Workplace

How to Build Trust as a Leader

Stress and anxiety levels of my team have increased.  What can I do to help them?