10 Key Reasons Why Empathy Is Important For Career Success
Going abroad for an international experience will give you a number of skills, most of which fall into categories of interpersonal relating: communication, teamwork, leadership, etc. These can be gained through a volunteer project, an international internship, or a service-learning project, and each of these components can be factored into a longer gap year.
On top of these crucial skills for workplace success, researchers are now discovering a new skill that is enhanced through going abroad: an emotional skill that is built through understanding others, and stress management and resilience, or, empathy. Especially on volunteer projects, where individuals are working with people from different backgrounds with different worldviews, empathy is a key capacity that these international experiences help provide.
Further Reading: 3 Key Reasons Why International Experience is a Career Must
What is empathy?
Empathy is largely understood as the ability to understand another’s pain, and to consider the complexity of issues behind another person’s perspective. By building empathy, we strengthen our ability to have an interconnected worldview, and to understand every action we make impacts something or someone else.
Empathy puts us more in tune with our own emotions, how to process and understand them, so we can then relate to others’ emotional reality more readily and effectively. This is especially significant in cultural settings, where a plethora of other complex factors are at play.
Further Reading: 6 Ways To Deepen Your Travel Experiences
Why is empathy important?
Going abroad presents challenges in many ways. We all have our own perspectives, values, backgrounds, and cultural understandings that make us uniquely us. When we mix these things together, especially in a new situational or cultural context, we are stretching our ability to understand and empathize with others.
Building empathy in yourself is then crucial if you wish to have a global career of learning and interacting with new cultures. Learning how to retain control over internal, emotional realities, while still being able to consider controversial or alternate viewpoints, will help us to create more collaborative work spaces, learning environments, and societies.
Further Reading: 6 Tips on How To Be A Responsible Volunteer
These qualities are also increasingly important to employers, as they search for workers who can demonstrate critical thinking, the ability to adapt to new learning or situations quickly, and capacities in collaboration and innovation.
Below are 10 key reasons why empathy is central to your future success.
1. You will better understand the needs of people around you
If you express empathy to the people in your life, you will be able to better understand what they need from you, and how you can treat them according to how they want to be treated.
2. You will more clearly understand how you affect others
By understanding another’s viewpoint, you can evaluate more clearly how your words and actions affect or influence the people around you.
3. You will understand nonverbal cues
Your intuitive senses will become more heightened and honed, as you begin to understand unspoken communication with others, which means you will be able to better interact with others in your workplace, as well as in social spaces.
4. You will be a better professional
Besides better knowing and understanding your colleagues and coworkers, empathy will make you a more efficient and effective provider to your clients. You will be better able to read/anticipate the needs of your clients or customers at work.
5. You will be better equipped to deal with interpersonal conflict
Both in your personal and your professional relationships, knowing another’s perspective will help you in resolving any potential conflict that may arise from misunderstandings.
6. You will more accurately predict others’ behaviors
By focusing on others’ motivations behind their behaviors, you will be able to understand how to interact with the people you work with/are close to, and to predict their actions or reactions.
7. You will be better able to motivate the people around you
If you know peoples’ motivations, and you understand how they want to be treated and what they want to achieve in life and work, then you will be better equipped to inspire and motivate them.
8. You will more effectively convince others of your point of view
If you’ve established yourself as a good listener and a caring coworker, people will be more likely to listen to your viewpoint.
9. You will experience the world in a more “big picture” kind of way
You will see the big picture of an issue or concept because you are incorporating several different perspectives or worldviews, not just your own.
10. You will become a better leader, worker, and friend
In a professional capacity, you will be in a better position to effectively lead and inspire others, as well as a more caring, compassionate companion in relationships.
Empathy: an important skill
Building capacities in empathy is quickly becoming one of the most important tasks of the 21st century. It will give you more flexibility in gaining other skills associated with leadership, teamwork, and intercultural competency, which are crucial for our global workforce.
Further Reading: One Skill Every 21st Century Student Should Have and How to Get It
Enhancing empathetic qualities in yourself will give you the ability to navigate complexities and to build and sustain a more peaceful world. Empathy is then critical for success in the professional sphere, but also for the future of our global community. We want to learn and thrive from our globalized world, and to find human commonalities from which we can all benefit.
Feel ready to start making a difference? Find out more about GVI’s international, award-winning volunteering programs and internships, and choose from community development, animal care, teaching, women’s empowerment, and conservation projects worldwide.
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