The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Resilience Requires Support and Empathy

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, March 11, 2019
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A recent study at the University of Michigan found that empathetic skills in college students have declined by as much at 48% over the last 8 years. The reasons for the decline are many, but two in particular stand out:

  • People participate in less face-to-face communication.
  • Mobile devices are taking the place of actual interaction.
Declining empathy is not only a problem for college students. Our over-scheduled lives and the ever-increasing drive for productivity have changed how we interact. Remote workplaces, self-paced learning, and social networking all contribute to fewer face-to-face interactions. This lack of physical interaction makes it difficult to truly connect. As noted by Dr. Sherry Turkle in her book, Reclaiming Conversation:

“Empathy is uniquely human.
 It cannot be mastered without face-to-face conversations.”

Research has shown that teams with higher empathy are more creative and productive.

Here are a few ways to improve your ability to empathize:

  1. CHALLENGE your own assumptions. 
  2. DO NOT JUDGE the choices of others based on your personal upbringing/life experiences.
  3. LISTEN to others’ stories.
  4. TRY to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.


A powerful way to generate conversation on empathy is with the newest video distributed by StarThrower. There Is Only Us with John Noltner reminds us that we are more alike than different. Featuring timely stories, this team-focused program offers a safe place and process to have challenging, but necessary, conversations on ways to create a more empathetic culture. You can find it at Starthrower.

PS: it is also on sale!  

Little changes in attitude can make a big difference. Invest in improving empathy. You will like your return on investment…

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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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