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Empathy at the Workplace

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Daniel Goleman, an international expert on emotional intelligence, says there are 3 types of empathy:

1. Cognitive empathy: When you know how the other person feels and what they might be thinking

2. Emotional empathy: When you feel physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious

3. Compassionate empathy: You not only understand a person’s predicament and feel with them but are spontaneously moved to help, if needed



Empathy is not only reserved for managers but should also be applied within teams. Understanding the environment and dealing effectively with different situations and people is a strong skill and companies are increasingly looking for people with this capacity. Not everybody can vibrate to somebody else’s needs.


Colleagues should spend more time with people in the workplace to understand their world and their concepts. This happens mainly at the start of a new job, as the tasks are given priority later. We should try to show employees/colleagues more empathy by asking questions like these: How can I help you? What do you mean by that? How does this matter affect you?


If you're moody at work, it's nobody's fault you're having a bad day. Try to show gratitude to other people and this will all come back to you. In such disappointing moments, colleagues will remember that you were compassionate and they will support you.


Recruiters also prefer to look for people who empathize with colleagues because they are better suited to future employers and are a valuable asset.