In general, the term “empathy” is surrounded by many mythologies. In business, it is mostly the act of understanding the other party’s emotions, feeling the situation of others, that makes a person empathetic. The most successful businesspeople, on the other hand, not only understand others, but can also imagine themselves in such a situation, placing themselves in the “shoes” of the other party. In other words, they do not talk as “outsiders” about how much they understand the other side, but they are able to “sit on the other side” during a conversation or decision-making. This ability is very difficult to develop because it cannot be developed. If someone doesn’t have this type of empathy from their personality, they will never possess it. However, many of those who possess this important skill are unable to use it properly. So we can say that empathy can be developed, but only in those who have it.
Traditional vs active
It is very difficult to face it when contract negotiations, getting a promotion, or business success “almost existed”. This “almost” feeling is extremely familiar to some and almost entirely unknown to others. If someone has real empathy and applies it well enough, they don’t have that feeling. In fact, they are usually surprised that “it all came together”. On the other hand, those who have experienced “almost” consistently in their lives need to know that empathy is certainly out of place. After all, empathy helps to perfectly understand the other party. Of course, this requires not only feelings, but also information that we can obtain through preliminary research and communication with the other party. That is, a person who is emotionally overheated and has traditional empathy will not automatically be successful; he or she will not have real empathy that he or she can effectively apply in business. Anyway, we could say that Supporter emotions are not enough; for real empathy, the ability of the Expert to analyse is absolutely necessary. It is very important that empathy in the traditional sense can be misleading, as it conveys the other party’s emotional world to us, and we take it over, so we are on the same wavelength in negotiations with our partner. But this alone is not enough to succeed, as, for example, a businessperson in a negative spiral or just facing a new task must be pulled out of the mental pit, but traditional empathy is no longer enough. We need to be able to judge whether the image whispered by our empathy is real or not. That’s why we need to go further and not be content with the other party’s emotions. We also need to gather the information we have from the other party, as it may have been poorly worded, only they see the situation as difficult because that’s how their personality translates events for them. Here we have to intervene, but then we no longer do it from the outside – to which the reaction is “what do you know?” – as the capacity of our partner increases significantly, as we are already “on their side”.
It’s hard to acknowledge
Yes, this is the biggest challenge for businesspeople. After all, they are basically coded in such a way that there is a competitive spirit, and new challenges need to be addressed. They can’t do anything about an issue like active empathy. To do this, you either have personality-type endowments, or you don’t. If you don’t have the right level of Supporter-Expert-Individual in that person, you can never bring that ability. But it’s better to be aware of this, and for important decisions, if you don’t want to fail, you certainly need to bring support into the picture. Another person with whom they already have all the important talents. And for those who have the options, they need to learn to apply them. It is not enough to already feel the partner; it is not enough that we have already gathered the information: we need to be influenced to move in the direction of decision-making. To do this, you need to be able to motivate, and sometimes it doesn’t hurt to influence.
In the post-pandemic period, active empathy is clearly at the forefront of managerial traits, as each person has experienced this age, an era so alien to humanity, differently. If we want to make a decision at the end of a process, we have to settle into the other party’s world from the very beginning and help them out from there so that we can then celebrate success together.