Empathy is one of our core values. It was added in the summer of 2015 when the leadership team realized how prevalent it was in the top performing members of SalesLoft, and how its absence had been the culprit of miscommunications and internal challenges (core value creation steps)
The synonyms for empathy which were considered included:
- Socially aware
- Self aware
- Tuned in
I’ve noticed most tech folks are confident they can improve their technical skills and knowledge through training and trying. But there’s a common belief in business that “we are who we are” when it comes to soft skills or people interaction (this is described by the fallacy of “an excessive need to be me” on my soundcloud)
Fortunately, this fallacy is BS. We can improve our soft skills just like we can our tech skills. And empathy is one of those.
What is Empathy?
- Recognizing emotions in others
- Being able to “put ourselves in another person’s shoes”
- Understanding others perspectives and situations.
Team members at SalesLoft who show great empathy inspire us to:
- Have a knack for prioritizing team members’ points of view. When we do this, we realize our colleagues likely aren’t being rude, mean, stubborn, or unreasonable – they’re just reacting from the perspective of the knowledge they have (lookup ‘fundamental attribution error’ to learn more on this).
- Intentionally give value to the other person’s perspective. Once we see why others have certain beliefs, we are to acknowledge it. That doesn’t mean we have to agree but we can accept.
- Examine our motives. Are we more focused with getting our way, coming out on top, or not being wrong? Or, is our priority to find the answer, connect deeper with each-other, and accept our differences? Through empathy we’re inspired to keep an open mind.
- Actively listen. Empathy manifests itself in active listening . What is being said verbally, physically? What tone is being used? Do we sense that the person is leaving something out? How does the other person feel?
Empathy also means understanding ourselves. How are we feeling? How do these decisions affect our attitudes and mental state? Understanding ourselves better helps us solve our problems and be open with each other.
Stephen Covey said it best: “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”.
Developing an empathic approach improves teamwork and relationships. When we have empathy for others, they’ll also work to understand us, and this goes a long way to building a productive and enjoyable team environment. It’s a value we cherish at SalesLoft and one that will help take your career to new heights.