Three Exercises to Teach Your Team Empathy

Part of what makes empathy such a powerful skill, especially for those in the UX field, is our ability to understand another’s situation. And a surprising way to train ourselves to do that, is by allowing our colleagues to be empathetic toward us, as well.

The problem is that many of us have been conditioned to believe that work is work, and that we shouldn’t take things personally when we’re on the clock. Yet sometimes it can be helpful to sprinkle a little personal information around here and there to help develop empathy in teams.

We do this here on the marketing team at UserTesting. Every Monday we have a stand-up meeting in which each team member shares one high and one low from the past week, both in their personal and professional lives.

When I first started with the company, I have to admit, I was hesitant to share anything about myself. But after a few weeks, I found I was learning more about my colleagues and what was important to them—both in the office and at home. After about a month I started getting comfortable sharing my own stories and it wasn’t long after that that I felt our team growing stronger and more collaborative.

As a result it became natural for me to wonder—if not ask outright—how my colleagues and customers were doing (and mean it). Because my colleagues and customers felt I truly cared about what was going on in their lives, they felt more comfortable in telling me exactly what they wanted or needed.