Conflict is part of our lives, and the way we manage it makes all the difference in how successful we are. Our use of empathy plays an essential role in how we manage conflict, and if we can master this, it will have a profound impact on our lives.
True empathy requires that you step outside your own emotion to view things entirely from the perspective of the other person.
Enhancing our Emotional Intelligence
Typically as we strengthen our self-awareness, we develop empathic skills and enhance our emotional intelligence. Empathy is the foundation of emotional intelligence, and with practice, you can improve your empathy and manage conflict more effectively.
We’re not all born to be empatheticWhen working with teams or individuals who are struggling to manage conflict in their professional or personal lives, I recommend they practise empathy. Not everyone is born with the innate ability to be empathetic. Some have to work diligently to develop constructive relationships with others. The good news is empathy can be learned.
Author Bruna Martinuzzi shares his tips for increasing empathy in his book, “The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow." I have used Martinuzzi’s recommendations and agree they work well.
Martinuzzi’s Tips for Increasing Empathy
- Listen – truly listen to people.
- Don't interrupt people.
- Tune in to non-verbal communication.
- Practice the "93 percent rule".
- Use people's name.
- Be fully present when you are with people.
- Smile at people.
- Encourage people, particularly the quiet ones, when they speak up in meetings.
- Give genuine recognition and praise.
- Take a personal interest in people.
Stop and respectfully listen
When it comes to using empathy to manage conflict, try this, stop and respectfully listen to how others feel and attempt to put yourself in their shoes. It’s only when we do this that we can relate to what the other person is feeling, especially if we have never experienced a similar situation. Practising Martinuzzi’s tips will strengthen your empathy skills and, most certainly, enhance your relationships with others.