THE POWER OF EMPATHY
Having effective people management skills is often linked
with Emotional Intelligence (EQ). EQ is about managing our
emotions and demonstrating empathy, integrity, and respect
for ourselves and others. Learning to become more emotionally
intelligent impacts our ability to create and sustain successful
personal and professional relationships.
Let's focus on empathy - a stock that has risen in value
business. Empathy begins with self-awareness. The more open
to accepting and embracing your own range of feelings, the
skilled you will be in perceiving the feelings of others.
with well developed empathy has the ability to read, understand
and appropriately respond to others'behavioral cues (verbal
non-verbal). It's a marvelous success trait.
This capacity to sense how another feels--to speak to that
part so that the other person is heard and understood--is
vital in all areas of life: sales, management, coaching, personal
relationships, and family. Some of the benefits researchers
identified from being able to understand behavioral cues range
from emotional stability, increased likeability, and enhanced
sensitivity. Studies in the U.S. and
18 other countries showed that women generally scored higher
Men and women who are empathetic build stronger connections
others. Studies further indicate the men and women with high
scores had significantly better relationships with the opposites
A big plus for romantic relationships.
Reseachers found that everyone can learn and strengthen empathy
(even cold-hearted criminals) by consciously practicing identfiying
with another's pain so that the denial of the pain becomes
difficult. Becoming more emotionally intelligent is about
that our behavior is a learned response. We can take responsibility
for our thoughts and actions and choose how we behave. Imagine
it could fee to be more in command of yourself.
Don't kid yourself; empathy isn't just a "soft skill"
for women. The
power of empathy pays off. A study of consulting firm partners
found 41% of the high-EQ group were promoted after two years,
to only 10% of low-EQ partners. High-EQ partners contributed
twice the revenue as the low-EQ parnters.
In healthy business or personal relationships, both parties
other the respect and space to authentically talk about their
one at a time. Each takes a turn at speaking and listening
judging or minimizing what was said. Note that you can acknowledge
even if you don't fully agree with or understand another's
Simply, reflect back the feeling of the statements made.
Here are some tips for listening with empathy:
1. Focus your listening to hear what the other person is
thinking. (Notice the tone of voice, posture and facial expression.)
2. Place yourself inside the other person's world in order
to get more
3. Keep an open mind without making the other person wrong
these feelings or opinions. (Look for common ground or what
4. Provide a summary of what you heard, paying special attention
including the feeling tone (happy, sad, fearful) of the message,
the other person.
5. Check for understanding. (Say something like, "Did
I capture the essence of your communication?" or "Am
I accurately hearing what you are saying.")
If you are a coach, therapist, or in another "helping
profession," you can probably easily sense another's
pain. For you, the challenge is to remain the "observer"
(as in watching a movie) as opposed to "experiencing"
the pain firsthand. During the next session, take time to
notice whether you are crossing the boundary of what is yours
and what is another's. If you've crossed the line, be sure
to clear your energy between each client.
(c) 2003, 2005 Barbara McRae, MCC. All rights reserved.
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