Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Part 3 of 5 for the August edition of "Converging over Coffee"
Empathy is not a soft skill. In fact, it is about as hard a skill as you can think of. Unlike soft skills, empathy doesn’t come with a set of tactics & practices that you can deploy. I’m not even sure if “showing empathy” is really what it is all about. All these make it quite obvious why empathy is not something that is often talked about in engineering or other similarly technical professions.
But empathy might be the most important competency that technical professionals like engineers can have. Once we see pass all the design, construction & project management work in front of us, we have to remember that engineering is ultimately about benefitting society & the greater good. And these have renewed meaning today within the context of climate action and economic transformation. Hence, empathy for our clients, partners & end-users helps us on this mission and also makes perfect business sense.
In the end, it’s less about showing empathy than about having it. While there are no best practices for deploying empathy, we sure can practice it.