It’s no secret that soft skills are in high demand. While technical skills are important, soft skills help ease the flow of work, get rid of tense office situations, and provide a positive work environment for everyone. People who have soft skills such as creativity, compassion, and excellent communication skills are must-have team members. But a soft skill that’s often overlooked is the skill of empathy. Empathy is the ability to sense and feel the emotion of others without being told.

4 Traits of Empathetic People

While there are different types of empathy, empathetic people generally possess four traits.

1. They are good listeners.

Empathetic people truly want to understand others. So whether it’s a boss explaining work or a co-worker who is struggling at home, an empathetic person is one who will take the time to listen, focus on what is being said, and truly understand the needs of the people involved in the situation.

2. They generally don’t like conflict.

This doesn’t mean they’re a pushover. Rather, it means that they take the time to smooth over differences, find common ground, and help your team run smoothly. They also think about how the people involved would like to be treated. Their ability to put themselves into the shoes of others can help them see both sides of a disagreement, giving them a unique perspective to hep solve the issue.

3. They are often intuitive.

While it might be hard to get this trait on a resume, those who are empathetic can see the perspectives of other people. Whether it’s a client, a customer, or a co-worker, an empathetic person can help find solutions that meet the needs of everyone involved, without having to be told what those needs are.

4. They put the needs of others before themselves.

Empathetic people truly care about others. So much so, that they will put the needs of others before themselves. That can look many different ways – maybe it’s taking on a task that no one else wants, or a willingness to step outside fo their comfort zone to take on a much-needed responsibility.

What’s the Benefit?

Empathy might not be a skill listed on a resume, but it’s important to have anyway. Whether your department is big or small, having empathetic team members and leaders benefits everyone.

1. Empathy builds community.

Workplace relationships are important for many reasons, such as decreasing employee turnover and helping employees maintain good mental health. Employees work more effectively and are less likely to burn out when they have positive relationships with others at work. Empathetic team members help build this type of environment.

2. Empathy creates a positive work environment.

No matter what you’re doing or where you are in life, it’s more enjoyable when you are with people who care for you. This is true at work, and empathetic people can help create this type of environment for everyone.

3. Empathy means work gets done.

All this talk about feelings seems almost counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But when people truly care about others, that means they’re willing to go the extra mile to step in when things go wrong, when a co-worker is ill, or when something else comes up. This creates an environment of helping others – it’s contagious positivity at its best!

Empathy: Integral to a Cohesive Team

Empathetic people are often a little quieter than others. They might not be the most outspoken members of your team, but it’s safe to say that they play an integral part in building a cohesive team that works together through adversity. Their hard skills combine with this very important soft skill and make work a more enjoyable place for everyone.

Be careful of relying on their empathy too much, though – just like anyone else, empathetic people can get burned out when you allow them to take too much onto themselves.



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Brynn Mahnke is a freelance writer specializing in researching, writing, and ghostwriting for clients in the career, finance, SaaS, and B2B/B2C niches. She focuses on writing case studies, whitepapers, ebooks, and articles showcasing the value her clients bring to their customers. When she isn't writing, you can find her running, cycling, or wrangling children. She can be reached through her website or at