This is my first value. And it's non-negotiable. It describes my complete orientation towards people and it represents my desire to help in everything I can. Empathy is my way of being and doing. Of being approachable with people, of being always willing to listen, of leaving my job for later to help you right now as long as I can.
Empathy doesn’t come from nowhere. Most empathetic people are already born with it. But if not, you cannot become empathetic overnight. It’s built slowly and from daily actions. Empatía es preguntar «¿Cómo estás?» y querer realmente escuchar la respuesta. Es caring for other people’s needs and really being willing to help them.
Being empathetic allows you to create longer lasting relationships, also in the professional field. It’s simple, it’s easier to strengthen a connection when you don’t talk only about the project, work or figures but you also care for the person behind it. Including this human aspect, for example before a meeting starts, creates a more natural, closer and longer lasting professional relationship.
Unfortunately, few companies put the focus on creating that empathy culture. Most of them pay attention to measure performance based on annual goals and hitting arbitrary sales targets. And that’s a problem because leaders have to be empathetic as they need to know their team's needs and care for how they are doing even in their personal life. More broadly across the organization, empathy is essential to have a healthy work environment where colleagues help each other selflessly.
It is a value so deeply rooted in myself that even once I was told that I had a bad personal branding. The argument was that I was always available to help everyone in the company and that was perceived as if I didn’t have that much work. Simply, I was empathetic. By the way, after asking some colleagues it turned out I did not have a bad reputation at all.
Anyway, that baseless feedback made me realize how important empathy is to me. I was advised to be less empathetic, something that I definitely couldn’t tolerate and that I cannot either want to change.