Leading with Emotional Intelligence: The Power of Empathy

The business community has embraced the concept of emotional intelligence and its importance ever since Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book, Working with Emotional Intelligence(1998). The challenge is to demonstrate that such competencies significantly impact employee performance.


Ten Ways to Develop Empathy

1. Keep a note of situations in which you felt you were able to demonstrate empathy and a note when you felt you did not. Make a note of missed opportunities to respond with empathy.


2. Become aware of incidents where there may be some underlying concerns that are not explicitly expressed by others.


3. Make a note of possible emotions or feelings that the other person may be experiencing. Keep an open mind and never assume, merely explore the possibilities.


4. Develop a list of questions to ask at your next encounter with that person. Try to make the questions open-ended, that is, questions that can’t be answered by yes or no.


5.  Practice listening without interrupting. Wait until the other person is complete with their point of view before offering yours.


6.  Avoid being defensive in order to create an open dialogue where possibilities can be explored freely.


7.  Allow creative time for people to express opinions and ideas without judgment.

8. Practice active listening: always check out the meaning of what was said with the person speaking. Paraphrasing what was said helps to clear up misconceptions and to deepen understanding.

9. Always bring focus back into the conversation. Remember that optimal effectiveness is achieved by a combination of focus and empathy.

10. Work on achieving an effective balance of focus, goal orientation and empathic listening.


Dr. Maynard Brusman