Empathy is an important part of emotional intelligence. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, empathy is the ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person's situation. Often we default to criticism and judgement instead of empathy. I know I have done this a lot in the past. I am getting better at stopping to reflect on why they might be like they are, or in the situation they're in. They might not have had the same safe and supportive home life that I did. They might be the victims of abuse or other tragic events. This helps me to feel empathy and compassion for them.
According to Positive Psychology one way to develop empathy is to spend time with people you don't know very well and ask them lots of questions. Don't make them feel like they're being interrogated, but find out about them in a friendly way.