#1: Empathy

Earlier I wrote about the emerging field of social neuroscience and new studies showing that leaders can improve group performance by improving their own social intelligence. Researchers Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis created the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory to help business people who want to improve their social intelligence. As described in the spring edition of Harvard Business Review OnPoint, seven key social intelligence qualities are most important: empathy, attunement, organizational awareness, influence, developing others, inspiration and team work. I’m going to look at each of these qualities, one-by-one, in my upcoming posts and share how we make them each come alive at Intertech.

Empathy sometimes gets confused with being overly emotional. That’s a simplistic view and it simply is not true. Understanding what motivates others is crucial to being able to work together effectively. One way we’ve found to emphasize with our team members who may be feeling overwhelmed when they have to work on a tedious project is to (a) give them a definite deadline for the project’s completion and (b) offer them the opportunity to work on a “fun” project at the same time.  We have found that showing empathy to employees in these situations by using these strategies can make all the difference. They know that: we understand they’re slogging through a tough assignment, that we appreciate their commitment and that we want to make it better. The assignment still might be a challenge but it doesn’t seem quite as bad when they know we empathsize!

Next post: Attunement!