Book Review: Increasing Collaboration Through Empathy
Jan 01, 2013 07:08PM
By Suzie Agrillo
Marie Miyashiro is passionate about empathy. A popular speaker and coach for teams with the Elucity Network, an empathy-based consulting and training group, she has written The Empathy Factor, an informative book with a proven method for developing and practicing empathy as a workplace skill. Her insights focus on how a compassionate workplace is a path to greater productivity and greater profits.
By utilizing her vast knowledge of the subject, Miyashiro demystifies the process of connecting with others. One of the most critical elements of empathy is listening. Miyashiro suggests that, “Sometimes ‘doing something’ for people to meet their needs may involve just listening to them with deep empathic connection, guessing their feelings and needs either silently or out loud.”The book is written in an easy-to-understand style that incorporates case studies, anecdotal examples from her work experience and insights gained from being a Non Violent Communication trainer and being the developer of the Integrated Clarity process for workplaces. Her research includes many insightful, educational and entertaining quotes from some of the leading experts in the field.
Another key to empathy is intention. It is important to be conscious of your intent to connect with another person in order to successfully implement your empathy skills.
A third factor in successful empathic communication is to make an observation without making a judgment, interpretation or evaluation. The book quotes Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti on this subject. “Observation without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence.”
The essence of empathy is the metaphor of walking in someone else’s shoes. Miyashiro says, “Empathetic connection is built around guessing someone’s feelings and needs, rather than knowing them.”
The skills in the book focus on three types of empathy: self-empathy, empathy for co-workers and empathy with customers. They can also be used with family, friends and anyone else you interact with in the course of your day.
Miyashiro encourages her readers to practice empathy skills at home. “Do try bookreview this at home. Since I’ve been using NVC/IC in my work, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and inspired by how many of my clients tell me that learning these concepts in their workplace is also affecting those they love at home in a way that all find more satisfying and connecting.” One of Miyashiro’s clients was ecstatic that after his training, he was finally able to communicate with his 17-year-old daughter.
Anyone can develop empathy and learn to be empathetic, and the purpose of the book is to cultivate this skill. The quality of our connections can meet critical human needs such as trust, respect, autonomy, understanding and meaning.
Learning and cultivating the skills from The Empathy Factor may result in a life-changing experience, both personally and professionally. According to Miyashiro, “This practice creates transformation from the inside-out, which leads to both individual and organizational evolution toward increasing levels of harmony and success.”
Miyashiro provides business outreach, strategic planning, organization development, executive team development and employee relations training for private and public sector organizations, including nonprofits. With more than 28 years of consulting experience, she has received more than two dozen awards for her communication and partnership programs.