Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organisations to work.
Empathy wants us to seek first to understand, then to be understood.
In the modern world that is full of competition and lack of trust, people struggle to survive and success while taking less time looking carefully at others. To make team works and create harmony, trust and empathy are the keystones.
“Vulnerability-based trust.” That is when team members trust each other’s intentions enough that they are willing to expose their own vulnerabilities, confident their exposed vulnerabilities will not be used against them.
Insula and Empathy
There is a fascinating relationship between self-awareness and empathy. If you are strong in self-awareness, you are also very likely to be strong in empathy. The brain seems to use the same equipment for both tasks. Specifically, both qualities seem to have a lot to do with the part of the brain known as the insula. The insula is related to the ability to experience and recognise bodily sensations. People with very active insula, for example, can become aware of their own heartbeats. What is really interesting is scientific evidence suggesting that people with active insula also tend to have high empathy. The brain uses its self-awareness equipment for empathy. In fact, you can even say that empathy relies on self-awareness, and if our self-awareness is weak, our empathy will be weak too.
• Empathy is nice, but it is not just nice: it is also essential for helping you succeed at your work, especially in building a team or coaching, mentoring, managing and caring for others. There is one basic ability that enables you to be highly effective at those activities, and that is your ability to establish trust. Empathy helps us build trust. When we interact with empathy, we increase the likelihood that people feel seen, heard, and understood. When people feel those things, they feel safer and more likely to trust the person who understands them. Key thinkers on effectiveness at work use trust as the foundation of their practices and approaches.
• Empathy does not necessarily mean agreeing or psychologising. It is possible to understand another person at both an intellectual and a visceral level with kindness, and still respectfully disagree. Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
• Practice giving people the benefit of the doubt: Most people do what they do because it feels like the right thing at the time, based on what they want to accomplish and the information they have. Their reasons make sense to them, even if their actions do not make sense to us. Assume that they are making the right choice, even if we do not understand it or might make a different choice ourselves.
Fair Exchange in Trust Rate
Remember that trust creates trust. One way I can build trust with you is to assume that you are trustworthy and to treat you that way. When you feel that someone trusts you, it makes it easier to trust them back, and vice versa. It helps to make three assumptions when it comes to trust:
1.Assume that everybody in this room is here to serve the greater good until proven otherwise.
2.Given the above assumption, we, therefore, assume that none of us has any hidden agenda until proven otherwise.
3.Given the above assumption, we, therefore, assume that we are all reasonable even when we disagree until proven otherwise.
When you begin a meeting with these assumptions, there is a greater sense of trust in the room.
It is possible to make tough decisions while still being empathetic; in many situations, the best way to make tough decisions is with kindness and empathy. If we make tough decisions without empathy, we can more easily achieve what we want in the short term, but also create resentment and mistrust which will hurt our own interests in the long term.
We can develop empathy by increasing our perception that people have similar needs to ours. The more we perceive somebody to be just like us, the more we empathise with him or her.
About the Author
Pierre Gagnon practised concentration and insight meditation intensively from 2010 to 2012, then went on to study meditation at Wat Suan Mokkh with the venerable Ajahn Po from 2013 to 2015. As well as his own practice, he has coordinated meditation retreats in the south of Thailand which were attended by more than 1,000 people.
Having a great passion in the field of neuroscience, he likes to integrate these concepts into meditation practice. He believes that much of our life is lived resisting and defending against internal and external experiences that people perceive as threats. Through the development of concentration and meditation, we can insightfully see that all experiences are harmless and there is no need to defend of contract around them. Pierre has experience coordinating concentration and insight meditation retreats, teaching the relationship that exists between Buddhism and neuroscience.
About the Author
Bochakorn began her education in conventional medicine as a nurse, then shifted to embrace natural healing and integrative medicines. Her training and certifications abroad include: Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicines, Acupuncture and Moxibustion.
During her therapeutic sessions, she may also incorporate other aspects of integrative medicines when required, including: acupuncture, cupping therapy, moxibustion, nutritional, supplements and herbal recommendation.