Leaders & Teams: Empathy Starts w/ Questions Not Statements | #Leadership

Leaders and teams, remember that empathy starts with questions not statements. I write about this today, because some people think that empathy is something they can’t develop. This is false. Others ask me how they can develop it. The answer is simple. To develop empathy. ask questions instead of making statements. Here’s why and how.



Empathy Starts w/ Questions: Image is chart w/ who what when where how on it.

Leaders & Teams, Empathy starts w/ questions not statements. Image via Pinterest.com

Image via Pinterest.com


Empathy Starts With Questions NOT With Statements!

When people need empathy, you will be very tempted to make statements. For example …

  • When an employee says, “I’m so stressed out”, you may want to respond with a statement like, “These are stressful times.” Although you are trying to bolster the employee, your statement sounds neutral not comforting. Ask the employee questions to find out more about how they are feeling. Just doing that makes them feel you care. It is the power of listening! It builds great connection, boosts morale, and develops your empathy.



  • Empathy: Image is quote Empathy is the connection before the solution.

    Empathy is the connection before the solution.



  • At times teammates will tell you what is troubling them. You may launch into many details of how you have felt the same way. Although you are have good intentions, they may see you as self-absorbed. Instead, ask them how it makes them feel. Find out what impact it is having on them. Listen! Then share the empathy you have at that moment. Once you have listened, you can share how you have felt the same way. Remember, empathy starts with questions and listening.



  • Crises Empathy: Image is the saying "Empathy is a great detective. ~ Mr Dave Moore"

    Crises Empathy Insights: Empathy is a great detective. ~ Mr. Dave Moore.



    Worst Statement of All

  • The most unempathetic statement of all is: “I’m sure you feel…” This statement screams that you want to be in control. You are telling them how they feel instead of asking. Almost as bad is the statement, “I’m sure you agree that …” There is no empathy in either of these statements. They sound arrogant and dictatorial.



What Drives People to Make Statements vs. Ask Questions?

  1. Lack of knowledge about what empathy is. Hence the need for this post!

  2. Fear. Some people are afraid of giving empathy. They think it will trap them in a connection they don’t want. Also, they may be afraid that they don’t feel the same way. No problem. Remember, empathy doesn’t mean agreement. It just means, “you matter, this matters.”

  3. Impatience. If you think that empathy slows success, you will likely avoid giving it.

  4. Need to be in control. Yet you will never be in control when you don’t know what is blocking team success. Ask questions and listen!





Summary of Why Empathy Starts With Questions

Highly intuitive people can often sense how others feel. Yet you can develop empathy even if you aren’t intuitive. Be curious. Ask questions. Listen. Just doing that shows people you care! And the bonus is you learn how they are feeling and can then show empathy.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leaders & Teams: Replace These Unempathetic Replies
Steps to Nourish Your Leadership Empathy
9 Hidden Places to Find Your Empathy

©2022 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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