How Empaths Make An Impact at Work
I’m an introverted empath…
And my favorite part of work is actually other people.
By definition, an introvert gets their energy replenished from spending time alone. An empath is almost freakishly tuned in to the unexpressed feelings, emotions, and inner life of others. I am both. You would think from these basic descriptions that I might prefer the company of my own computer monitor from the company of people at work, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I am an introverted empath and my favorite part of work is actually working with other people. And because I am an empath, my ability to understand, perceive, and sense the unsaid and the unexpressed allows me to make an impact at work when it comes to working with and understanding other people. Empaths can be hugely beneficial to the emotional health of your organization. And this blog post is a long-form explanation of why.
As an empath, I can pick up on people quickly and easily. This is why working with other people is my favorite part of my job - because it’s never boring. People are never the same from day to day. Every person is different, every environment is a new chance to learn and grow. Moreover, empaths prefer working with people because they understand that 1.) peopl are inherently interesting, and 2.) because empaths know that people are the key to every problem or solution at work and 3.) because building authentic relationships at work is something empaths excel at uniquely.
Do you feel things deeply, know intuitively what people around you are thinking, and have strong gut reactions that cannot be ignored?
You may be an empath, a rare class of people who are so in-tune with the emotions of others that they often feel the experiences of others as strongly as their own.
1. When meeting new people, after talking with them for about 15 minutes, I get a sense of who they are on a deep, intuitive level. Taking into account things they said, how they said it, how they dressed, their mannerisms, facial expressions, and any other minute detail I noticed, I get a strong “hunch” of what they are like not only at work, but at home – what drives them, what motivates them, what they care about, and how they work, and how they feel about their job and me. I envision what their home looks like, what kind of things they like to do outside of work, and how they might respond to various types of situations. I am usually always right, and I use this information to inform how I interact with them.
2. I often experience strong physical sensations in my body when I meet someone. This can manifest itself in many different ways. For example, if I meet someone who is missing a limb, that same limb on my body will tingle, feel ‘hot’, or my muscles will go weak in that exact same spot. Some people I have met have given me an immediate sense of bad energy that can literally stop me in my tracks, and make my entire body feel like a vibrating tuning fork yelling; “Warning! Stay Away!” and in time, I come to understand why I initially responded in this way. When people use the phrase, “I feel your pain,” I truly feel it.
3. I can walk into a room or a meeting and can automatically pick up on how each person is feeling. I can tell who is excited, who is sad, who is ready to get to work, who needs to feel listened to, who needs deference, who is prideful, who is anxious, and who is totally over it. I can walk into a room and pick up on the energy of an organization or department, and I use this information to impact my decision making as well as how I adjust.
Having an Empath on your team is a huge asset.
Their leadership style might not be loud, showy, pushy, or incredibly persuasive, but they are gentle, perceptive, and strategic thinkers whose mental clarity is like having a crystal ball on your payroll.
Empaths get a bad rap in the workplace I think. They mischaracterized as “too sensitive” and I don’t think their gifts are as recognized and as applauded as the braggadocios leadership styles our American culture values. But having an empath on your team is actually a huge asset that can be leveraged time and time again to solve your company’s biggest problems or resolve your weakest blind spots. In recent years, empathy has become a hot term that many organizations and hiring managers are looking for, especially when filling for executive leadership positions as increasing amounts of research have started to showcase the positive impact of understanding and intuition within organizations. Still not convinced? Here’s just a short list of the ways empaths make an impact at work.
Strategy, conflict resolution, and emotional support…
are things the empathic person can directly add to the health of an organization
1. Empaths have an intuitive understanding of the shifting emotional dynamics within your organization and can see personnel issues on the horizon before anyone else.
They are the first to recognize who on your team doesn’t feel valued, who wants to be challenged, and who feels overworked. And they are usually the first to reach out to these people to build relationships with them and work to build up the people on your team who may need a little extra TLC. They make great peer mentors, great leaders, and great mentors because they can understand intuitively what people need and what they are about.
2. Empaths are great strategic thinkers. They have a habit of making prophesies of expected outcomes that often come true.
They understand what people out in the field might think of your brand, they know how your users use your website, and can use their intuition to make educated guesses about the results of your latest marketing campaign. Using their intuition and sensing capabilities they are great at driving strategies, making hiring decisions, and building relationships that matter. Taking the long-range approach, they see opportunities and threats much earlier than others and are passionate about pivoting early and often in order to solve for them.
3. Empaths as leaders improve the emotional health of your organization.
They listen, they understand, they can predict, they “get it.” And therefore, they can improve the overall productivity and happiness within a workplace. Empaths have a naturally loving and accepting demeanor that can literally make walking into an office or department run by an empath like walking into a warm hug. Empaths inspire loyalty within their organization and build a culture of trust, respect, and courtesy simply by leading by example.
4. Empaths are great at conflict resolution within the workplace because they see both sides and are natural peacemakers.
They can understand the troubles of others, and even if they do not agree, they have an innate ability to understand where people are coming from. They can calmly and effectively express the unexpressed feelings of others, and often know just the right thing to say that will make someone feel understood and listened to. The empaths on your team will be the ones triaging conflicts and working to solve rifts by becoming an ally for others.
All company problems and solutions come down to people problems. Whether you need your people to work on things for you with collaboration and kindness, or if you need to convince your existing customer base to purchase from you, or if you need to attract new people to your business and services, it’s all just human interaction and behavior. Whether we’re talking about strategy, leadership, user-experience design, or marketing funnels, the basic nucleus of all these ideas is such: how do you tune in to your people in a way that’s authentic, to achieve a desired result?
Ask the Empaths on your team…
… For help with UX Design, for their opinions during the hiring process, and to pitch in when it comes to mentoring younger talent.
If you have empaths on your team, use their powers (and they truly are psychic powers!) for good. Ask them for their opinion on user experience when designing a new product or developing a new website landing page. They’ll have incredibly powerful insights on ways you can make it better. Place them in a peer-leadership position so they can assist others find more meaning and happiness in their work. They will connect well with others and will enjoy the process of helping someone out. Recognize them for their ability to bring a sense of wellbeing and peace to the workplace. Being an empath can sometimes be taxing on the individual who feels deeply, so show them that you value their perceptions and insights and express how you have used those perceptions and insights to drive the business forward. Involve them in early strategy discussions when drawing up marketing plans, they’ll have great ideas and insights to share that your team might not have seen before. And for goodness sakes, involve them in the hiring process when their department is looking for a new team member. They will pick up on the unsaid and unspoken traits of individuals and will be able to pick up on a totally different frequency that will allow them to determine whether this person will be a good fit for the organization.
It's clear that working with empaths has its benefits. If you are an empath like me, I hope this article helped you see that your extreme perception and sensitivity is a gift when it comes to the workplace, not a curse. And if you have an empath on your internal team, I hope some of the points I have shared here have given you some ideas on how to leverage their clairvoyant gifts and understand them a bit better.