For Everything DiSC® Facilitators: Helping Managers Develop Empathy with Everything DiSC

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It’s no secret that people are stressed – and stress negatively impacts performance. More and more companies are realizing that helping people effectively deal with stress and improve mental health is not just a nice thing to do. It is good for the bottom line.  

A Forbes article, Empathy Is The Most Important Leadership Skill According To Research, shares the results of a global study by Qualtrics that found 42% of people have experienced a decline in mental health. In addition to increased anxiety, exhaustion, and sadness, a significant number of people reported they are having trouble concentrating, experiencing increased irritability, and taking longer to finish tasks. 

Research conducted by Georgetown University professor Christine Porath found that incivility in the workplace is contributing to declining commitment and performance, as well as damaged customer relationships, decreased collaboration, and increased employee turnover.  

However, there is a tool leaders can use to counteract these negative consequences of a stressed-out workforce – and it’s not higher pay or bigger bonuses. In fact, it costs little or nothing. That tool is empathy. 

A recent study by Catalyst identified significant benefits of empathy including: 

  • Innovation: 61% of respondents reported they were able to be more innovative when their leader was empathetic compared to 13% with less empathetic leaders 
  • Engagement: 76% of those who experienced empathy from leaders reported they were engaged compared to 32% who experienced less empathy. 
  • Inclusivity: 50% of respondents whose leaders were empathetic felt their workplace was inclusive compared to 17% of people whose leaders were less empathetic. 

This study also found empathy positively impacted retention. 

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The Everything DiSC® model is a powerful tool for helping leaders increase empathy.  

The late psychologist, Carl Rogers, defined empathy as: 

“Perceiving the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the “as if” condition. Thus, it means to sense the hurt or the pleasure of another as he senses it and to perceive the causes thereof as he perceives them, but without ever losing the recognition that it is as if I were hurt or pleased and so forth.” 

In a nutshell what Rogers is saying is: Empathy is the ability see the world through the lens of someone else – to step into their shoes and understand their point of view, without becoming emotionally submerged in the other person’s perspective.  

At its core, the DiSC model is about seeing the world from the perspective of others. In addition, it provides insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a leader’s style. It also highlights blind spots that may be hurting their relationships and diminishing their leadership effectiveness.  

For a leader, understanding both their typical approach to various situations as well as how others may approach the same situation leads to increased empathy. A leader in one of my workshops once said, “I now know that just because someone thinks differently than I do there is not something wrong with them.” Do you think this manager was able to show more empathy after this insight? Absolutely! 

While any of the Everything DiSC suite of products can help leaders develop an enhanced understanding of different perspectives and how they may need to adapt their behavior to demonstrate greater empathy, Everything DiSC Agile EQ is especially well suited for this.  

If you would like to further explore ways that you can use Everything DiSC as a tool for supporting your leaders in developing empathy to improve innovation and engagement, create a more inclusive environment, and increase retention, reach out today 

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