Gallup CliftonStrengths® is an assessment of personality, rooted in the theory of positive psychology. Research indicates that people who know and use their strengths every day are more likely to experience positive emotions (energy, happiness, respect) and less likely to experience negative emotions (stress, worry, anger, sadness). The assessment identifies an individual’s top five “Signature Themes” from a list of 34 common talents. Individuals can then develop those talents into strengths, and apply those strengths in all areas of their life.
Overview of the Empathy® Strength
People with the Empathy® strength are able to sense the emotions of those around them. They often feel the feelings of others as if they were their own. This gives them the unique ability to view the world from the eyes of others to gain a new perspective. It doesn’t necessarily translate to agreeing with others all the time, but it does help them understand various decisions other people make.
People who have Empathy® as a strength are intuitively able to understand the views of others and can often find the right tone and words to invite productive conversations. They display compassion and hopefulness. They also have the ability to help others express how they feel not only to others but to themselves as well.
If you have the Empathy® strength, you help people around you give voice to their emotions. Because you are so effective with this, people are often drawn to you.
Action Items for the Empathy® Theme
People who have the Empathy® strength often fail to realize how important their role is in the lives of others, even in the workplace.
Focus on the following to feed your Empathy® strength and excel in your personal and professional life.
Appreciate your gift. Not everyone is able to get in touch with their own feelings much less help others get in touch with theirs.
Help other people put a name to their feelings.
Help coworkers and colleagues become more aware of the feelings of the people they work with.
Enhance your non-verbal communications skills. Sometimes, just listening is the right move.
Understand that understanding where others are coming from doesn’t excuse bad behavior. Let others know that while you understand what they’re feeling, they are behaving in a way that is unhealthy and/or unacceptable when the situation calls for it.
Be aware that you are vulnerable to personal burnout when you involve yourself into the emotions and feelings of others.
Ideal careers for people with the Empathy® strength include: teachers, counselors, writers, social workers, caregivers, nurses, clergy workers. Ideally, you will work in a job where you are part of a team and can support other team members to help them work together more effectively.
How to Manage Someone with the Empathy® Theme
Managing employees who have the Empathy® strength offers unique challenges ― especially if you are put off by emotional displays, like tears. Empathetic® people are more highly sensitive to the emotions of others and may become overwhelmed by their emotions and the stream of emotions flowing through them.
Listen to the points they’re trying to make and resist the urge to overreact when tears flow. Otherwise, consider these things when managing people who have strong tendencies for empathy.
Test your employee’s ability to make the right call based on feeling (or intuition). They may not understand why the decision they’re making is the right one, but it is often exactly that.
Choose teams carefully, placing people with the Empathy® strength on teams with positive, optimistic team members rather than those who are negative or cynical. They will pick up on the emotions of others and may become drained when surrounded by negativity.
Seek their help explaining things when some employees have difficulty understanding why certain actions are necessary.
Ask them to help you gauge the feelings of other workers when introducing new ideas, policies, products, etc.
Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, CliftonStrengths® and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths® theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc. For more information, or to take the CliftonStrengths® assessment, visit www.gallupstrengthscenter.com.