Empathy là gì

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Empathy is, at its simplest, awareness of the feelings & emotions of other people. It is a key element of Emotional Intelligence, the liên kết between self and others, because it is how we as individuals understand what others are experiencing as if we were feeling it ourselves.

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Empathy goes far beyond sympathy, which might be considered ‘feeling for’ someone. Empathy, instead, is ‘feeling with’ that person, through the use of imagination.


Some Definitions of Empathy

empathy n. the power of entering into lớn another’s personality và imaginatively experiencing his experiences.

Chambers English Dictionary, 1989 edition

" awareness of others’ feelings, needs và concerns."

Daniel Goleman, in Working with Emotional Intelligence

"I Điện thoại tư vấn hlặng religious who understands the suffering of others."

Mahatma Gandhi

"Empathy is intuitive sầu, but is also something you can work on, intellectually."

Tyên Minchin


Daniel Goleman, author of the book Emotional Intelligence, says that empathy is basically the ability lớn understvà others’ emotions. He also, however, notes that at a deeper cấp độ, it is about defining, understanding, and reacting khổng lồ the concerns & needs that underlie others’ emotional responses & reactions.

As Tim Minchin noted, empathy is a skill that can be developed &, as with most interpersonal skills, empathising (at some level) comes naturally to lớn most people.


Elements of Empathy

Daniel Goleman identified five key elements of empathy.

Understanding Others Developing Others Having a Service Orientation Leveraging Diversity Political Awareness

1. Understanding Others

This is perhaps what most people understvà by ‘empathy’: in Goleman’s words, “sensing others’ feelings & perspectives, và taking an active sầu interest in their concerns”. Those who vì this:

Show sensitivity, & understand others’ perspectives.


Are able lớn help other people based on their understanding of those people’s needs and feelings.

All these are skills which can be developed, but only if you wish lớn vì so. Some people may switch off their emotional antennae to avoid being swamped by the feelings of others.

For example, there have been a number of scandals in the National Health Service in the UK where nurses & doctors have sầu been accused of not caring about patients. It may be that they were so over-exposed to lớn patients’ needs, without suitable support, that they shut themselves off, for fear of being unable lớn cope.

For more, see our page on Understanding Others.

2. Developing Others

Developing others means acting on their needs & concerns, và helping them to develop khổng lồ their full potential. People with skills in this area usually:

There is also plenty about developing others on our Leadership Skills pages: look out in particular for Motivating Others, Creating a Motivational Environment, và Effective sầu Team-Working Skills.

3. Having a Service Orientation

Primarily aimed at work situations, having a service orientation means putting the needs of customers first và looking for ways to improve sầu their satisfaction and loyalty.

People who have sầu this approach will ‘go the extra mile’ for customers. They will genuinely understand customers’ needs, và go out of their way to help meet them.

In this way, they can become a ‘trusted advisor’ lớn customers, developing a long-term relationship between customer & organisation. This can happen in any industry, and any situation.


Mercedes Benz: No More Satisfied Customers

Mercedes-Benz, the oto manufacturer, is no longer interested in achieving customer satisfaction.

That does not mean that customer experience is not important to lớn Mercedes. Quite the opposite. It means that customer experience is so important that satisfaction is not enough. Instead, the company wants its customers to feel delighted by their experience with Mercedes.

The company’s president & CEO believe sầu that engaging Mercedes employees is key khổng lồ achieving that. For example, a recent company poll found that 70% of employees had never driven a Mercedes. They are now being given the opportunity khổng lồ do so, so that they can better empathise with customers, và therefore engage with them more effectively.


There are many non-work situations which require us lớn help others in some way, where putting their needs centre-stage may enable us khổng lồ see the situation differently và perhaps offer more useful support and assistance.

See our pages on Customer Service Skills and Customer Service Tips for more.

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4. Leveraging Diversity

Leveraging diversity means being able to create và develop opportunities through different kinds of people, recognising & celebrating that we all bring something different to the table.

Leveraging diversity does not mean that you treat everyone in exactly the same way, but that you tailor the way you interact with others to fit with their needs & feelings.

People with this skill respect & relate well khổng lồ everyone, regardless of their background. As a general rule, they see diversity as an opportunity, understanding that diverse teams work much better than teams that are more homogeneous. Our pages on Group & Team RolesEffective sầu Team-Working explain why diverse groups persize much better than homogeneous ones.

People who are good at leveraging diversity also challenge intolerance, bias và stereotyping when they see it, creating an atmosphere that is respectful towards everyone.


The Dangers of Stereotyping

Claude Steele, a psychologist at Stanford University, did a series of tests about stereotypes. He asked two groups of men và women to lớn take a maths thử nghiệm. The first group was told that men usually did better in such tests than women. The second group was told nothing.

In the first group, where people had been reminded about the stereotype, the men performed significantly better than the women. There was no difference in the second group.

Steele suggested that being reminded of the stereotype activated emotional centres in the brain, resulting in anxiety ahy vọng the women, which affected their performance. This shows how dangerous stereotypes can be, & how they can have a very real effect on performance.


For more about this skill, see our pages on Intercultural Awareness & Intercultural Communication.

5. Political Awareness

Many people view ‘political’ skills as manipulative sầu, but in its best sense, ‘political’ means sensing and responding to a group’s emotional undercurrents & power relationships.

Political awareness can help individuals khổng lồ navigate organisational relationships effectively, allowing them khổng lồ achieve where others may previously have sầu failed.

See our page on Political Awareness for more.

Empathy, Sympathy & Compassion

There is an important distinction between empathy, sympathy & compassion.

Both compassion và sympathy are about feeling for someone: seeing their digăng tay và realising that they are suffering. Compassion has taken on an element of action that is lacking in sympathy, but the root of the words is the same.

Empathy, by contrast, is about experiencing those feelings for yourself, as if you were that person, through the power of imagination.

See our pages on CompassionSympathy for more.

Three Types of Empathy

Psychologists have identified three types of empathy: cognitive sầu empathy, emotional empathy and compassionate empathy.

Cognitive empathy is understanding someone’s thoughts và emotions, in a very rational, rather than emotional sense. Emotional empathy is also known as emotional contagion, & is ‘catching’ someone else’s feelings, so that you literally feel them too. Compassionate empathy is understanding someone’s feelings, và taking appropriate action khổng lồ help.

For more about the different types of empathy, see our page on Types of Empathy.


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Further Reading from Skills You Need

Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence

Learn more about emotional intelligence and how khổng lồ effectively manage personal relationships at trang chính, at work và socially.

Our eBooks are ideal for anyone who wants to learn about or develop their interpersonal skills và are full of easy-to-follow, practical information.


Towards Empathy

It may not always be easy, or even possible, khổng lồ empathise with others but, through good people skills và some imagination, we can work towards more empathetic feelings.

Retìm kiếm has suggested that individuals who can empathise enjoy better relationships with others và greater well-being through life.

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I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit -the ability khổng lồ put ourselves in someone else"s shoes; khổng lồ see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us - the child who"s hungry, the steelworker who"s been laid off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came lớn town. When you think like this, when you choose lớn broaden your ambit of concern and empathise with the plight of others, whether they are cthua trận friends or distant strangers; it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.