Management

Empathy is a strategic tool


I’ve always felt empathy is an underestimated and underused soft-skill in business environments. I’m pretty sure many people are aware about empathy but people hardly change their mindsets to use it to their advantage.

In software development for example product managers, architects and engineers seldom seem to look at the product from a purely user point of view. During product development this can be done by taking off your “engineering” hat and putting on a “end-user” hat. This is quite important when figuring out your product strategy.

Another key use case of empathy would be in HR management. When making important decisions with regard to employees, managers should put themselves in the shoes of the people who will be affected by such decisions before actually implementing them. I like to call this an “empathetic dry-run” where the manager “plays” the scenario in his/her head not as a manager but as the affected employee.

Empathy is an important tool in business environments which can be easily used in Product Strategy and HR strategy. That’s the reason why modern techniques such as Design Thinking use empathy as a key step in the problem solving process.

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