Question: Empathy is a core component needed for effective governance in public service. Explain.
Answer: Empathy is our ability to understand emotions of others and respond to them by imagining ourselves in their places and seeing things from their perspective.
Empathy forms an important part of governance mechanism as it helps in achieving the required attitude and emotions needed for effective working.
Importance of empathy in public service
- Emotional connect
Empathy allows individual officials to have emotional connect with public if their emotions can be better analysed. It allows public to respond positively to government actions and reduce conflicts between them.
Ex: Government official requesting public to stop their road blocking strike.
- Reduce mismanagement
Emotions should be understood but not to be displayed. By understanding the emotions of public, potential mismanagement that can happen can be reduced effectively. It will also keep actions of public in check.
Ex: Public official refraining from ordering lathi charge on peaceful protesters as he understands the reason for their protests.
- Avoid dilemma
Dilemma can arise if personal emotions overpower our professional duties. In situation in which dilemma can arise, our ability to understand public emotions will prevent us taking wrong step.
Ex: Choosing between government order to demolish slums immediately or waiting for alternative arrangement before demolition.
- Increase social behaviour
Society’s welfare will be taken into account whenever official takes steps. It will allow official to identify oneself as part of the society. It will create better condition for society and government to interact.
Ex: Taking measures to improve safety of children in a given area.
Thus, empathy is not only an important part of governance but also important for any form of organisations. It helps in creating better harmony between different groups.