Why Empathy is a Critical Business Skill, According to Chinmaya Madan
While multitasking and project management are critical business skills, they are not the most important. To most successful business people, empathy is the most critical skill you can possess. Empathy is the feeling that you share and understand another individual’s emotions and experiences while having the ability to share another’s feelings and should be embedded throughout an entire organization, regardless of the function and department. Chinmaya Madan notes that outside the company, developing empathy can help you better market and develop products or services for your customers.
Understanding how customers utilize your products or services while listening to their feedback and determining the products or services they need can help you fill the need in the market. The idea of using empathy toward customers is to put yourself in their shoes and watch consumer buying behavior while listening to what they want.
According to Chinmaya Madan, companies that don’t view the marketplace from a consumer perspective risk disruption within their industry. A great example of this is how Blockbuster ignored Netflix’s business model, which ultimately caused the company to disappear.
Try to conceptualize that customers’ are hiring a product to fulfill a specific need. For instance, FedEx fulfills the need of moving a package from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Those who use this company are hiring them to safely transport packages. Disney delivers safe, warm, fantasy experiences for families. Chinmaya Madan says that if you figure out the job customers are hiring the product to do, then you win.
This all equates to providing excellent customer service through empathy. The way a customer is treated when there is an issue impacting if this individual will be a future customer.
Internally, empathy helps with collaboration and management by allowing different functions to understand everyone’s perspective. Jumping in someone else’s shoes makes it easier to reach a compromise when there are opposing points of view. Also, considering how others may be treated at work will make them more productive.
Chinmaya Madan has found that when companies use negative consequences for employees, they will behave in a specific manner. Instead, showing appreciation through genuine rewards, incentives, coaching, and development, and other benefits supports the message that the business cares about its people.
The best manner of developing empathy for your employees or customers includes:
- Listening – Listen to people’s body language, facial expressions, and words, without interrupting. When listening, don’t look at your watch or phone, pay attention.
- Talking – Ask others about their interests and praise them for what they do well while encouraging them to offer their ideas in certain situations.
Chinmaya Madan finds that empathy is a business skill that needs to be learned and developed. However, once you have mastered this skill, you can better reach your consumers and foster a better working environment for employee productivity.