We’ve never needed empathy more than we do now. In our turbulent world where people are easily divided, we need leaders who practice empathy and work to understand the perspectives of the people around them.

Dr. Brene Brown is a leading speaker and author on empathy. She has created four steps to practicing empathy that are vital for everyone, both in our personal and professional lives. These steps are simple but can have a dramatic impact on our interactions with others.

Perspective taking.
Empathy is all about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and trying to see things from their perspective. When you practice empathy, you imagine a time you felt a similar way or had a similar experience. As you become vulnerable and unlock your past experiences, you can better relate to where the other person is coming from.

Staying out of judgment.
We all fall into the trap of making quick judgments about someone. Staying out of judgment means simply listening without jumping to conclusions. To practice empathy, we must listen and understand.

Recognizing emotions someone else is feeling.
As you listen, try to recognize the emotion the other person is feeling. Is it hate, anger, frustration, sadness, happiness, or myriad other feelings? Pinpointing the emotion can help you understand what they are feeling.

Communicating that you understand an emotion.
As you identify and connect with someone else’s perspective and emotions, let them know that you understand. Conveying your understanding builds connections and helps you respond accordingly.

I put together a video which talks about this in more detail. Please check it out below and if you want more content like this you can subscribe to my Youtube channel.

Empathy is the cornerstone of building strong relationships. We all need to practice empathy at home and work, and it starts with these four practical steps.