The Power of Empathy

Four circles of different colors with the word "empathy" running through them.

Team-building. Empathy.Empathy as a team building approach

We work in a climate of ever evolving innovation, best practices, and clinical knowledge.  It is charged time, indeed, to work in global health. All of that change, even positive change, however, can also usher in a sense of being untethered or a perception that change happens on a whim among our teams.

When change comes, we often prepare our teams in terms of the changes in work-streams, new organizational structures, new funding codes and the like.  How often do we take an empathetic, rather than strictly practical, approach to managing change among our teams? In other words, how do you use empathy as a team building approach?

What if you took a proactive approach and talk about empathy within your team? Perhaps you can share and discuss this short video by the great Brené Brown as a starting point:

Consider the following questions to spark conversation with your team:

      • Brené Brown talks about four key practices related to empathy, perspective-taking, staying out of judgement, recognizing emotions in others, and communicating about them. How do we, as a team, undertake those practices? How might we work to improve our practice of empathy?
      • When is it easiest for us, as a team, to practice empathy? When is it most challenging?
      • What does Brown mean by “empathy is feeling with people”?
      • Have you ever had someone approach a problem with “at least…”? How did that make you feel?

As you consider an upcoming change, for example, a new hire or new funder, consider taking an empathetic approach to how you message and manage the change. Your team may be richer because of it.

If you would like support managing that change, please do reach out. I would love to help.

Interested in reading more on empathy? Check out this post on Love as a Force for Social Justice.