Asking someone “How are you today?” can go a long way. This simple kind gesture helps to build stronger relationships with others and brings in the human element that is so desperately needed into the workplace. Those interactions can demonstrate your commitment to compassion and empathy – because after all, we are all trying to navigate through this thing called “life.”
It used to be that being “professional” meant leaving your troubles at home and flipping a switch to portray a stoic, non-emotional presence when we came into work. Data and experience show us that this just is not possible. If something happens at work, we take it home. If something happens at home, we bring it to work. There is no on-off switch – everything is intertwined. Whether our co-worker is grieving from a loss or is struggling with a personal change, we need to figure out how to best support them. This helps to create a positive work environment for all. We also know that someday we may need that same level of compassion and empathy, too. As humans, we all experience pain and suffering.
What are some ways that people can show compassion at work?
Compassion is not rocket science. It is simply about being human and being kind. We will never truly know those challenges that others are facing, which means that we need to be empathetic – we need to look at things from the other person’s point of view. This is not about how you would react but rather understanding how they are feeling and meeting them where they are.
Compassion involves paying attention to what is around us – to notice how our co-workers are doing and to lift them up when they need help. This “attention” is not anything of massive proportion but to easily “check in” with someone and lending a generous ear when your co-worker needs someone to listen.
A few minutes of generous listening can change someone’s day. It sends the message to others that they are valued and important. By showing compassion to someone else, you receive the benefit of also feeling better as a good person and a good colleague.
Employees are choosy these days. They want to feel safe and valued at their organization. Whether someone stays or leaves from an organization has now come down to a “feeling” of belonging and whether I feel good about working here. With labor shortage being at an all-time high, employees know that if they don’t feel good “here” – they will find something better “there.”
It all comes down to this…. What do you want to be known for? Do you want to be a leader or an employee that demonstrates compassion, understanding, and support for others? People are watching you all the time to see how you show up. Be a role model for compassion. You will be pleasantly surprised to see just how very contagious compassion can be for others.
We challenge you! Check out our assessment on Emotional Intelligence.