How Are You Feeling?

The CliftonStrength of Empathy

My friend, Susie*, enjoys her job at a large corporation and generally gets along well with her boss. But things aren’t always copacetic.

“The best and worst thing about my boss is that she’s very flexible and always goes with the flow,” says Susie. “These can be great attributes, but I sometimes I wish she’d be more ‘in charge.’ I’d really like her to be more decisive and fight harder on our team’s behalf,” she explains.

Susie has the CliftonStrength of empathy, which means she’s often able to sense others’ feelings and can easily put herself in their shoes.

On the plus side, that means she’s able to understand why her boss leads the way she does. The drawback is that her empathy hinders her from being forthright. She doesn’t tell her boss that she wants her to be more authoritative and decisive in certain situations because she doesn’t want to hurt her feelings.  

Managing Empathy in the Workplace

As a manager, if you have employees like Susie, who have the CliftonStrength of Empathy, it’s important to understand that it’s very easy for them to sense how other employees are feeling. They’re often putting themselves in someone else’s shoes.

This attribute can be fantastic but can also lead to a potential problem: these employees can be so empathetic that they take on other employees’ baggage, which can ultimately weight them down. It’s important for you to work with them so they don’t feel compelled to tackle co-workers problems.

Another thing that’s important to these employees is that they’re able to express themselves at work. They’ll thrive in situations where they can discuss emotions as they relate to business decisions.

Again, this attribute can add value to your team. But it can potentially create issues if they’re emotionally reactive in most situations. This happens when employees with the CliftonStrength of Empathy lead from the heart and allow emotions to overtake them.

You can help develop these employees—and prevent some of these issues—by helping them recognize their tendency to be emotionally reactive. When they’re aware of it, they can stop, consider the situation, take a few deep breaths, reflect on why they’re upset, and respond accordingly.

If you have an employee with Empathy and want to capitalize on this strength, ask yourself: 

·      Does he have room to express himself?

·      Are we putting him in roles that take advantage of his intuition?

·      Does he work with an optimistic team, which allows him to be more positive and motivated?

·      Are we using him to help foster understanding between internal teams and to listen to the concerns of dissatisfied customers?

Keep in mind that you’ll get the most from these employees when:

·      You appreciate their ability to intuit the feelings of others.

·      You let them know you trust and value their instincts.

·      You partner them with an employee who has the CliftonStrength of Activator or Command, who can help them take action.

·      You call on them when you really need a listener who can help bring synergy, whether that’s between internal teams or with your customers.

How Millennial Guru Can Help

In addition to helping teams identify their CliftonStrengths, we add value by helping you understand how capitalize on employees’ contrasting strengths for your particular business.

We don’t just talk about ideas—we give you specific tools on how you can help your employees tap into their strengths and maximize performance. 

To find out more about how we can help you make the most of your team’s strengths, schedule a no-commitment informational meeting today. We’d love to help you meet or exceed your business goals for 2019. 

*Susie isn’t her real name. We respect her privacy; yours, too!


Paige Cornetet