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What's Empathy Got to Do With It?: How to Exercise Your Thinking and Feeling Muscles

Empathy in the business world

There are many studies that link empathy to business results. Empathy is correlated with increased sales, performance of the best managers of product development teams, and with enhanced performance in a diverse workforce.

It is predicted that those with a strong right-brain (interpersonal) qualities will have the upperhand in the Conceptual Age.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

What's Empathy Got to Do With It?: How to Exercise Your Thinking and Feeling Muscles

What's Empathy Got to Do With It?: How to Exercise Your Thinking and Feeling Muscles

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_75.htm

mindtools.com

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Key Ideas

Empathy

Empathy means seeing things through someone else's eyes. It is an essential component that keeps relationships running smoothly. It allows us to create bonds of trust, gives insights into another's situation, helps to understand why others are reacting to situations.

Studies have shown that patients who had damage to part of the brain associated with empathy showed a lack of relationship skills, even though their reasoning and learning abilities stayed unaffected.

Empathy in the business world

There are many studies that link empathy to business results. Empathy is correlated with increased sales, performance of the best managers of product development teams, and with enhanced performance in a diverse workforce.

It is predicted that those with a strong right-brain (interpersonal) qualities will have the upperhand in the Conceptual Age.

Reasons why empathy is important

Dr. Daniel Goleman gives three reasons why empathy is so important:

  • The increased use of teams (that could spark different emotions.)
  • The rapid pace of globalization (with cross-cultural communication that could lead to misunderstanding)
  • The growing need to retain talent.

Leaders with empathy do more than sympathize with people - they use their knowledge to improve their companies in skillful and subtle ways.

Where empathy comes from

Empathy is a process of thinking and emotion.

  • We need our reasoning skills to understand another person's thoughts, feelings, reactions, concerns, and motives.
  • We need the emotional capacity to care for that person's concern. We don't have to always agree with the person but should acknowledge their thoughts, feelings, or concerns.

How to develop empathy

  • Truly listen to people. Pay attention to their body language, tone of voice, emotions behind what they are saying to you, and to the context.
  • Don't interrupt people. Don't dismiss their concerns offhand. Don't rush to give advice.
  • Practice the "93 percent rule". Words account for only 7 percent of the total message that people receive. The other 93 percent of the message is contained in our tone of voice and body language.
  • Use people's name. Also, remember the names of people's spouses and children.
  • Be fully present when you are with people.
  • Encourage people, particularly the quiet ones, when they speak up in meetings.
  • Give genuine recognition and praise. Pay attention to what people are doing and praise them
  • Take a personal interest in people. Show people genuine curiosity about their lives.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Zeno of Citium

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”

Zeno of Citium
Good listening

Good listening doesn't follow a technique as much as being willing to enter into another person's life.

Listening through the screen of your own desires means that you are listening to your own voice and desires. It is the same as not listening at all. Listening demands wiping the slate of your mind clean.

Not knowing what to say

Not knowing what to say when someone confides in you is a daunting feeling. However, we feel that way because we mistakenly think the person reaching out is asking for an explanation.

It is more important just to be there, so the other person doesn't feel alone.

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Emotional Intelligence Matters
EQ is not only the ability to identify and manage your own emotions, but it’s also the ability to recognize the emotions of others.
Manage your negative emotions
When you’re able to manage and reduce your negative emotions, you’re less likely to get overwhelmed. 

If someone is upsetting you, don’t jump to conclusions. Instead, allow yourself to look at the situation in a variety of ways. Try to look at things objectively so you don’t get riled up as easily. 

Be mindful of your vocabulary

Emotionally intelligent people tend to use more specific words that can help communicate deficiencies, and then they immediately work to address them. 

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1:1 meetings
1:1 meetings

1:1 meetings matter. It is important to nurture that essential employee-manager relationship. But it still not easy to get right.

Under pressures, managers are still juggl...

1:1 category

The goal of an effective 1:1 is not an update from your direct report or for you to lay down some instructions. It's a conversation. It's a chance to hear about your direct reports' ideas for your product, their career goals, and possibly their opinion of their performance.

Keep a list of three potential topics ready for discussion. When they say they have nothing to discuss, you can jumpstart the conversation with one of your items.

Manager's best tool

Your most precious resource is your own time and energy. When you spend it on your team, it helps build healthy relationships.

Your job as a manager isn't to give advice or 'save the day.'' It's to empower your reports to find the answer themselves. If you want to understand what's going on, ask. Let her lead the conversation while you listen and probe.

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Great Leaders

Knowledge, smarts and vision are characteristic of a great leader. Add to these the ability to identify and monitor emotions (your own and others) and to manage relationships. 

Qual...

Self-Awareness
  • Realistic self-confidence: You recognize your own abilities and shortcomings; you operate from competence and know when to rely on someone else.
  • Emotional insight: You are aware of your own feelings. You can identify the cause of the emotions to help you manage them.
Self-Management
  • Resilience: You know how to stay calm under pressure and can recover quickly from upsets. 
  • Emotional balance: You can control any distressful feelings without blowing up at people.
  • Self-motivation: You keep moving toward long-term goals despite setbacks.

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Make small talk

You communicate a genuine interest when you inquire or listen to the small details that make up your partner’s day. It’s those insignificant moments that make up the reality of our lives.

Shared experiences
We feel closer to others when we can talk about the experiences we have in common. 

Words are not necessary for shared feelings to improve a relationship. Just doing something at the same time—riding bikes, watching a movie, or eating dessert, intensifies both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.

Listen carefully
Knowing that you are being heard is one of the experiences most likely to cement a feeling of connection to another. 

Use a technique called “active listening” - a form of listening in which you acknowledge that you understand what is being said. 

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Self-Control

Self-control, an ability to overcome your current state of want or desire, and appreciate the needs of your future self, is similar to the feelings of empathy and selflessness, which essentially is...

The Theory Of Mind
The Right Temporoparietal Junction part of our brain helps us think about other people, understanding their mental states. 
If this region is well developed and better connected to other parts of the brain, people behave altruistically and show less bias in their groups. If this region is impaired, people lose their sense of morality.

New studies about this region of the brain tell us that impulsivity and selfishness are linked, and are the opposite of restraint and empathy.
Hating Ourselves
Hating Ourselves

"I hate myself" is a common self-talk. You really are your worst enemy, however painful this may feel.

Feelings of self-hatred and unworthiness are felt by a majority of people. E...

Effects of Self-Hatred

Self-hatred gives us negative thoughts, telling us we are unattractive, lack confidence, and are generally unworthy. If we listen to it, we give it power. We then create a negative shield around us and will have trouble accepting love and compassion.

The internal negative breeding will attract further negativity in our lives and relationships.

How To Stop Hating Yourself
  • Pay attention to your triggers by reflecting on your thoughts and actions, identifying your inner negative talk.
  • Question and challenge your negative thoughts, and detach from them.
  • Start saying positive affirmations to yourself to counter the negativity.
  • Reframe your negative thoughts by changing your point of view.
  • Spend time with positive people who fill you with joy.
  • Seek professional help as this may be a mental health issue.
Perspective-taking

It involves being able to see the point of view of someone you usually consider to be part of an outgroup.

Research finds that being able to offer another point of view - especially if...

Bridging differences

Both perspective-taking and perspective-giving are powerful tools to help negotiate differences, particularly between groups of different power dynamics.

Empathy isn’t enough

Although similar, perspective-taking is not the same as empathy. Empathy falls short in trying to reduce polarization. In fact, empathy appeared to make things worse.

We tend to feel empathy more towards people like us, that we can relate to. If an outgroup attacks an ingroup, the empathic concern doesn't help.

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"Being spiritual" nowadays signals:
"Being spiritual" nowadays signals:
  1. People that believe there is more to the world than meets the eye, more than the mere material. 
  2. People that attend to their inner life (their mental and emotio...
Understanding the world

Spirituality is a framework for understanding the world. It enables people to make sense of that which, for them, science and religion fail to address: religion because it's outdated and out of touch with scientific progress, science because it's incapable to answer some of life's most crucial questions (of purpose, meaning and value).

Outer Space vs. Inner Space

The Dalai Lama once joked: "While the West was busy exploring outer space, the East was busy exploring inner space". 

Regardless of the veracity of this, it does seem that for contemporary western societies, silence and stillness are an exception, not the rule.

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Use assertive communication

Assertive communication allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions without judging or blaming other people.

Emotionally intelligent people know how to communicate ...

Respond instead of reacting

The emotionally intelligent person knows how to stay calm during stressful situations. 

They don't make impulsive decisions and understand that in times of conflict the goal is a resolution.

Utilize active listening skills

Emotionally intelligent people make sure they understand what is being said before responding. 

They also pay attention to the nonverbal details of a conversation. This prevents misunderstandings, allows the listener to respond properly and shows respect for the person they are speaking to.

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