Being human (in the first place)
05/25/2023 • Customer news
Daliborka Rosic, Marketing Director at Dr. Oetker, dedicated her article published in the latest issue of InStore magazine to the topic of empathy in business.
The article can be read below.
After I had been invited to be an editorial guest, I accepted it with pleasure, knowing that there are several topics that I would like to cover: artificial intelligence, digital advertising, market segmentation, the importance of innovation, understanding consumer needs… Unfortunately, two tragedies happened in Serbia in the meantime, hitting us severely, so that what we feel is hard to describe. It encouraged many of us to deeply reconsider ourselves and ask ourselves what is essentially important to us, and that is how one completely new topic imposed itself.
As this is a business magazine, I will adjust the content to those frameworks. I would refer to the importance of empathy and humanity in business and leadership.
Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and feel the emotions of other people. We can achieve a lot by trying to „walk in someone else’s shoes“ and understanding them better. Firstly, the communication with our team, clients, and business partners is improved. When we truly understand that all of us have our fears, needs, desires, aspirations, and goals, it will be much easier to reach joint solutions.
A manager’s ability to understand his subordinates and adapt his managing style makes a big difference in an employee's feeling of being appreciated and motivated at work. As with the experiences from school where we had teachers that we liked more because of that ability, and for that very reason we adopted the material from their subjects more easily, so in the business environment, if we feel respected, it affects our productivity and contribution to work. And vice versa.
Basically, a leader’s ability to express empathy and understanding toward employees is key to building a healthy work environment. Apart from being juniors, seniors, managers, etc., we are people above all. When we feel that somebody sees, hears, and appreciates us, we will enjoy our work more, we will be more productive, and hence we will contribute to the business more.
When people feel that they are listened to and understood, a bond of trust is created. Then we are more creative and more innovative, and we know how significant innovation is for the competitiveness and existence of the company. Therefore, empathy has an economic value as well.
We know that the consumers are the focus of our business. When we look at consumers not only as consumers, but as people first and foremost, then we reach the real purpose of business. We strive to create products that will facilitate, embellish or sweeten the lives of our mothers, grandmothers, fathers, grandfathers, children, grandchildren, friends… Our goals are not just numbers, but the real people supporting our brand and identifying with it.
Empathy is a skill that can be learned and, what is most important, it can be improved and strengthened. But only if there is a desire for it.
And here is a new topic: Is empathy and „being human in the first place“ in business a rule or an exception?