Some people have it, others don’t.
And you certainly know those who don’t have empathy, the UK and US television series “The Office” has a great example of an empathy less boss.
Empathy is the ability to understand and affect the emotional states of others.
a. The ability to “read” the emotions and emotional states of other.
b. The ability to determine the situations/triggers that cause various emotional states in others.
c. The ability to evoke positive and negative emotions states in others. This often involves understand the self-concept and identity of others to avoid offending and to evoke positive reinforcement of behaviours.
d. Conflict/Negotiation skills. The ability to advocate your positions/interests without invalidating the positions/interests of other parties.
Increasing your ability to empathize can help you get closer to others, win their support when you need it, and defuse potentially high-charged situations. By showing another person that you really understand where he’s coming from, you gain a certain level of respect. You demonstrate, for example, that you’re not self-centered.
In learning to become more empathetic, start by paying more attention to other people. Listen carefully when communicating with someone. Listen to both what she tells you and what she wants you to hear (tone of voice, non-verbal cues). By getting better at picking up and paying attention to what people are really trying to say, you become more empathic.
If you can positively influence the emotions of people around you, you have an impressive skill. You’ve probably seen leaders who can calm down or reassure an angry crowd. On the other hand, you’ve probably also seen how some people can mismanage the emotions of others. Think of the number of times a poorly prepared CEO of a company had to face the media in a time of crisis. By giving off the wrong body language, using the wrong tone of voice, or evading answers to questions, these leaders made people who were watching feel more annoyed or upset because of their perceived lack of empathy.
Managing other people’s emotions is a two-step process. Just follow these steps:
1. Increase your empathy.
You need to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and feel his pain, joy, hopes, or fears. A key way is in observing those around you to learn about what they like/dislike and how they feel, react in various situations. Another way is by asking questions of people. Learn what you can by asking and observing. Does he like sports or exercise? What are his favorite teams and activities? What foods does she chose to eat? What makes her feel happy or sad?
2. Respond to people in the way that you would want someone to respond to you to relieve pain.
Influencing someone else’s emotions requires a certain amount of skill. First, you need to know how you want to influence the other person. Do you want to make someone happy, calm, vigilant, or aware, for example? After you decide how you want her to feel, then you have to know how to guide her there.
Think of the last time that you heard an inspirational speaker or saw a film that really moved you. Impactful experiences usually involve a build-up in which the speaker or movie director sets the stage for where he or she wants you to go emotionally. You can create this build-up yourself by setting a goal or letting the person know where you want to go.
Some examples are: We have to look at this situation calmly, As a work team we need to be aware of what’s going on. Some bad things have happened, and we have to be on our toes.
Then, you can build your case through stories or examples. You need to convey to the other person that you’re both on the same side — and it’s in both of your best interests to be aligned. By being consistent in your body posture, your voice, and your message, you can deliver a potent message that can move the other person’s emotions in the right direction.