What is the Difference between Empathy and Compassion? Why is that critical to your Business Success?

We hear a lot about empathy in leadership. If you follow me, you have heard me talk about compassion quite a bit lately. What is the difference?

Those that follow me know that I work with individuals and organizations to leverage their power to do what others never thought possible. Attaining that unprecedented level of success demands that we disrupt our own attitudes, expand our knowledge, hone our skills and set exponentially higher goals. That requires building a cutting-edge culture within their organization.

We hear a lot about empathy in leadership. If you follow me, you have heard me talk about compassion quite a bit lately. What is the difference?

Cutting edge-culture requires leaders to transform what they have into what the organization desires. Of course leaders don’t do that by themselves but rather with a highly productive team. The problem comes in that most organizations struggle with a mostly disengaged workforce.

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Empathy is often defined as “the ability to understand another person’s experience, perspective and feelings.” In an article for Forbes.com, Gourguechon notes that empathy is one of the five core skills of any leader.
“Essentially empathy is a neutral data gathering tool that enables you to understand the human environment within which you are operating in business and therefore make better predictions, craft better tactics, inspire loyalty and communicate clearly. “

Note that it is a “neutral data gathering tool.” Empathy is simply understanding the world from their perspective. It is a shift in perspectives from yours to theirs so you have the information necessary to get your job done.

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In our book, The ROI of Compassion (Murfield & Murfield, 2018) and in our soon to be released book, Leading with the Power of Compassion, (July 2019) we define compassion as “coming alongside another to help alleviate their pain.” Compassion is more than merely noticing and feeling how the other sees the world. (Those are the first two steps of our compassion model) Compassion works to ease their pain by helping to solve their problem.

That is quite a difference in perspective.

Instead of just gathering data, the leader works to settle the other person’s already disrupted world. They are in pain to some degree. To resolve their problem means that, as leaders, we not only notice their pain, understand and feel the pain from their perspective but also help them think through the problem and take the appropriate action.

Murfield Model of Compassion (C) 2019 All Rights Reserved. Notice. Feel. Think. Act.
Murfield Model of Compassion

Compassion, like empathy, is a power that leaders can leverage to bring exponential success to the organization.

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Why Does It Matter?

Many leaders dismiss compassion as an unnecessary expense and an unwise strategy in doing business. They are wrong. Compassion is the best business strategy and practice because it engages all levels of employees and unleashes the ultimate performance, production and profits.

How can we say that? Gallup reports 72% of workers are disengaged. Look through the 12 items and you will find the employees are in pain. They are rarely praised for work well done, given an opportunity to develop their skills, or are aware of their progress, to name a few. So they disengage. That means they are not working at their peak performance, are not producing as well as they could be, and therefore, are not generating the profits they could be.

That creates pain for the organization.

Compassion goes beyond merely noticing and feeling to stepping in, working with them to strategize the best plan and then taking the necessary steps to solve that painful problem.

Follow me to learn more about how you can change paradigms, switch perspectives and build an engaged team that creates a disruptive innovation and brings the exponential success you desire.

(c) 2019 Murfield International, Inc.




Loren Murfield, Ph.D.

I work with leaders and organizations think bigger and reach higher to find breakthrough success. This is a process that I can help you learn. Begin the process today by contacting me. 

Start learning how you can engage employees during their most traumatic moments in our newly revised and just released book, “The ROI of COMPASSION.” Watch for the release of our new book, “Leading with the Power of Compassion” in July, 2019.

ROI of Compassion 2018

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