According to a fascinating post about Narrative Empathy on the Psychology Today blog, “empathy” is a relatively new term to modern western cultures. Empathy in the workplace has been historically looked down as too much of an ultra soft skill.  But in the last twenty or so years with the rise of emotional intelligence, empathy has been slowly making its way into the workplace. And that’s a good thing. When people can empathize with someone else in the workplace by emotionally putting themselves in another’s place in order to understand their perspective, it leads to higher levels of respect. The following are a series of articles posted over the past several years from the Respectful Workplace blog that discuss some of the ways that empathy can be incorporated into the workplace and beyond in order to create a more engaged and respectful culture.

The Art of Being Wrong

by Paul Meshanko

Every day brings a myriad of opportunities to increase our awareness, wisdom and, ultimately, effectiveness. The problem is that most of us walk right past these opportunities because of a little glitch in our mental “software.”

Read more…

Everyone Can Understand What It Means To Be A Minority

by Todd Dewett, Ph.D

Many times diversity trainers find it difficult to connect with an audience comprised mostly of white males. Not surprising since white males who are in the majority are not used to being stereotyped like a minority – right? Kinda. While it is true that white males do not understand what it is like to be anything other than what they are – white males, they can understand what it means to be stereotyped. You – the trainer or executive – can help them remember, and in doing so increase their comfort level with and curiosity about diversity-related issues at work.

Read more…

Empathy and Mirror Neurons

by Laura Lewis-Barr

I’m not a brain scientist, but I’ve been thinking about mirror neurons after seeing a wonderful video on them. These specialized brain cells help us relate to our surroundings and other people. Mirror cells build empathy and connection. They are activated every time we see or hear.

Read more…

Taking the Point of View of Others

by Melanie Sklarz

One of the Rules of Respect that we promote during our respectful workplace program is “to value the many different sources of knowledge that exist”. While we present this as a guideline to consider during the program, I’ve also found it equally useful in my own life. Through open dialogue we can broaden our awareness and ultimately, start seeing things not only as they appear to us, but how they might feel to other people.

Read more…