Strategic empathy is your ability to utilise and increase your empathetic awareness and intent in order to enhance responses to others in specific situations. It is strategic in that as a learned skill it can be optimised in different environments and circumstances. This has been identified as a core strength in the highest functioning teams, ranging from corporations such as Google to elite military units.
Strategic empathy encourages a greater degree of outward thinking (an outward mind state) and sensitivity towards others. It is vital for building team cultures that inspire greater collaboration, teamwork and deeper connections. By increasing a sense of internal safety through strategic empathy it enables organisations and individuals to adapt much more effectively to both crisis and change, whilst also encouraging greater motivation and resilience. It allows individuals and teams to become strategists in relation to how they plan and seek to increase their own levels of empathy on multiple levels towards others. By nature, it encourages a mindset that is employee, customer, and stakeholder centric. As such it should be considered a core consideration in all business planning.
With new advances and discoveries in neuropsychology and science, we now recognise that our brain has a considerable capacity to evolve throughout our own lifetime due to its integral neural plasticity. This means as we continue to learn during our life, we can continue to evolve and mould our neuronal connections in our brain by what we prioritise and do .
This awareness has allowed us to appreciate that the development of empathy can be viewed as a specific fundamental skill rather than just a pre-determined trait. Like every other human skill, the more importance and practise you give to it, the more sensitive and proficient you will become.
Although establishing a strategic approach does not necessarily involve developing more general empathy in every relationship or aspect of your life, it might still certainly be a worthwhile goal for some, whilst also being extremely beneficial and life transforming.