When it comes to empathy, we usually think "it's a woman's thing."
Is it really and if so, why?
With my many years of experience as an emotion trainer, I would like to inspire you in this blog article to deal more intensively with the topic of emotions. At the same time, I am launching an exciting study for which I want you to be a participant.
What interests me most is to find out whether leadership works better on hierarchical obedience or emphatic voluntariness.
Also, is EQ (empathy quotient) more important than IQ (intelligence quotient)?
So let's get started...
We all know it. People react to a certain situation in completely different ways. Hasn't everyone found themselves shaking their head indignantly at the "inappropriate" reaction of their fellow citizen? Either because this person has shown too much or too little emotion in response to a certain event, or simply because he has a different opinion.
- Wouldn't it be great to acquire more knowledge yourself in order to better understand people's emotions?
- Wouldn't it be fantastic to know how other people feel, what they probably think?
- What if you could predict behaviors of the people around you?
How many misunderstandings would there be less of? How many poisoned, emotional disappointments would never start in the first place?
How much more power would people have who are united and motivated to pull together with all their might - and in the same direction?!
Especially at work, emphatic leadership is on the rise. But who uses this kind of leadership more effectively? Man or woman?
Who has the greater power within themselves to inspire others with their ideas and to implement this in a targeted manner?
With this blog article, I want to draw attention to the importance of empathy as a skill.
To that end, I'll share with you some interesting information that will give you a better understanding of this important topic.
In the further course, I will then come to the comparison of the above-mentioned leadership methods, with which a practical test is connected.
What exactly is empathy?
Each of us tends to evaluate the reaction of others from our own point of view. This evaluation is logically based purely on prejudices, which can be positive or negative. If we know a person more closely and know more about the background of a shown emotion, we "evaluate" the whole thing already from a more neutral point of view.
Who does not know persons around whom one would prefer to give a wide berth? People whose looks can kill and who go to the cellar to laugh. ...
The opinion we have of someone is, of course, always strongly dependent on the relationship we have with that person. For example, we expect a higher level of emotional empathy from our life partner than from our boss.
People who are very empathetic use their trained sensitivity to determine the course of conversations themselves by reacting to the emotions of others accordingly.
Unfortunately, empathy is very often interpreted as weakness, especially in relation to topics such as sadness, frustration or even pity.
What about people with totally exaggerated emotional reactions?
Genuine empathy comes in the form of feelings from within and expresses itself externally through appropriate behavior. Exaggeratedly shown emotions quickly leave an insipid aftertaste with the observer.
Does the person in question want to achieve something specific with his or her behavior?
If we look at different types of empathy, it becomes clear that there is a wide range of ways to express emotions. People in positions of responsibility in particular should develop a good sense for interpreting emotional behavior correctly.
It is not for nothing that empathy is considered a core competence in professional circles.
If you want to be a responsible person, you should pay attention to the following three types of empathy in your private and professional life:
Can you empathize with emotional situations of another person in such a way that an emphatic feeling for the situation arises in you? Your mirror neurons then convey to your counterpart that "you are with him".
Such a genuine empathy is the base for trusting interpersonal connection. This is the only way for relationships to work at all, because it strengthens cohesion.
Cognitive (mental) Empathy
- Do you recognize signals that reveal what feelings exist in the other person?
- Can you put yourself in the mind of another?
- Do you understand the motives and intentions?
- Can you even deduce and foresee certain future behavior from the behaviors shown?
By anticipating the consequences of appropriate behaviors or (re)actions, your sense of responsibility is fostered. This has a direct positive effect on your cooperation with others.
If you have mental empathy, you can "read" the nonverbal signals from the body language. The type of posture, facial expressions and gestures tell you very quickly whether what is said is also in conformity with the body language.
You pay particular attention to the face and the eye expression, because you know that the true feelings are reflected most honestly here.
By the way, facial expressions are the most researched area of body language.
Those who do not have a feeling for this kind of empathy often do not realize what they are doing with their own behavior through words and deeds. As an elephant in the china store, such a person complicates relationships or destroys them completely.
Through this kind of lack of empathy, a lot of energy is also wasted in order to build up new relationships again and again.
Social empathy is especially effective when working in and with groups.
Are you a team player, someone who can lead skillfully and still keep a low profile? Have you mastered the art of creating a positive dynamic within a wide variety of people in order to create a community bond?
The special feature of emotional group leadership
In a group, fundamentally different behaviors are often exhibited than when interacting with individuals.
Due to the dynamics that quickly develop in a group, other skills are required in order to be able to have a motivating or controlling effect.
If you have a sense of how the interaction of behaviors works in groups, you can understand and thus actively shape the interpersonal relationships when working with teams.
You need to have an eye and feel for the group as a whole, recognize patterns of behavior and (re)action, and figure out as quickly as possible who is the leader.
Power and influence determine unwritten laws in a group, so it is important that you pay attention to the relationship dynamics that result from hierarchical structures.
If you can accurately assess a group and know everyone's position within the team, you can create harmony and balance through appreciative leadership.
Within the group, you can even create the impression that you have a sixth sense, because by acting with foresight, you give the group members the feeling that you know them.
By anticipating consequences through appropriate behaviors or (re)actions, your sense of responsibility is fostered. This has a direct positive effect on cooperation with others.
Men are often considered to be more superficial, which is certainly true in many cases, since a man usually focuses less on details.
Women notice small things very quickly, recognize subtle signals or more inconspicuous movements and, according to the research I know, are therefore more sensitive, i.e. can also be described as more emphatic.
The origin of this characteristic of women has its roots in the Stone Age, where women were responsible for the togetherness in the group.
Emotions from the environment quickly rub off on your own feelings. Also your feelings and emotions influence the feelings of others.
After all, feelings develop and show themselves from the inside out. If you are in a bad mood, this mental state will also be reflected on the outside.
Many people are not aware of this, so they are surprised when others (re)act in a way they do not expect.
Think about your own experiences. Can you remember situations where your emotional attitude had a direct impact on your environment?
Therefore, pay attention to your feelings. If you find yourself in situations that require a certain type of emotion, be sure to put yourself in an appropriate emotional mood beforehand.
How can I better develop and enhance this core competence empathy with all its different facets in myself?
You can (further) develop emotional empathy by
- by knowing and experiencing your own emotions and learning how to deal with them.
- when you show empathy towards others and recognize their feelings.
- when you build bridges of trust. Then people tend to open up emotionally.
You can (further) develop your mental empathy if you
You can (further) develop your social empathy through
- the targeted use of the unwritten laws of emotions.
- the attentiveness concerning the social behavior e.g. within your family.
The nucleus of social development arises initially within the family and continues in later (professional) life in activity in groups and with teams.
Is there a difference in the area of private and professional empathy?
You have certainly already met people who are in a completely different mood in their private life than they are in their professional life. What is the reason for that?
There are different reasons. The most important is probably the situational freedom of action, which differs in private and professional life.
However, there are also people whose basic type is such that they always react in the same emotional patterns. These people do not simply leave their true self at the door of their employer or their own office and are therefore authentic in their behavior both privately and professionally.
Yet, are men or women more emphatic?
We will clarify whether men or women are more emphatic for a representative group in the field of Cognitive Empathy with an Emotion Recognition Test.
Be sure to join us as we launch this revealing test!
Since mindfulness, observational skills, attention and (empathy) are not equally inherent in everyone, this will be a very interesting study in which we hope many will participate.
Every participant will benefit greatly from this test, because the knowledge alone about the possibilities of improved understanding is extremely valuable, especially at the present time.
How do you learn such knowledge about emotions?
To get to know your own emotions better, there is a very interesting exercise that I use very often in my trainings.
Look in the mirror with a relaxed gaze. Try to be as neutral as possible.
Just look into it in a relaxed way and don't think about anything. I know this is challenging on its own, but just do it.
Now when you look at your neutral face in the mirror, please observe the whole face from top to bottom, left to right. Look at each area of the face.
From this situation, just go into the feeling of anger in your mind.
You will observe that certain areas of the face change. Depending on how strongly you express this anger now, your face will change.
Can you feel the feeling developing inside you?
You will see that your lower eyelids are tense, you have pressed your lips together, and eventually you will also draw your eyebrows into the middle and downward so that horizontal wrinkles form on your forehead.
These characteristics are shown on the basis of signals in the same form in other faces. More precisely, all the so-called basic emotions can be recognized by certain movements of the mimic muscles and the resulting change in facial expression.
The best part is that it is the same for all people!
Basic emotions are anger, fear, sadness, joy, disgust, contempt and surprise. They are shown in the same way across cultures.
Therefore, you can communicate with anyone when these emotions are used in expression.
Hold that particular facial expression, which shows an emotion, until the corresponding feeling arises in you. You will then recognize how people feel who show that facial expression.
To show you all the basic emotions, I have prepared an emotion recognition test for you. Here you can see all seven basic emotions in strangers' faces and test your ability to recognize them.
The test takes only 3 minutes. Try it out right away.
This test shows your potential for better understanding in the area of cognitive empathy.
How great is your emotional and social empathy?
To find that out, I invite you to read my next article, which I will again make interactive.
Look forward to it and be curious about what will happen next. In the meantime, start with your own individual potential analysis.
The following link will take you to the information page where an emotion recognition test is linked.
Once you have taken the test, make an appointment with me for a free personal evaluation. This way you will automatically participate in the new study mentioned above and will also receive my e-book "When the body speaks" as a thank you.
This e-book shows you in a simple, understandable way how you can better assess people through mindfulness and attention to different behaviors.
You'll also get valuable tips on your own behavior to develop good relationship dynamics.
In order for the study to develop effective validity, I have a big goal of having at least 200 people participate.
Therefore, I ask you to support this project.
Thank you in advance for your recommendation, because you are doing your part to make our world more emphatic.
"As a trainer and consultant, I have been helping people in sales and distribution achieve their goals more quickly and in the long term for over 30 years. I help people who are interested in learning more about their communication to be more successful in attracting and retaining customers and having overall harmonious customer and employee relationships. Why should we get to know each other, if at all!!! ... "Common ground" is what brings people together. If VALUES are also important to you, we already have something very important in common. Values such as RESPECT, RESPECT and VALUE are basic requirements for a good relationship. You can expect these values from me, because I also expect this from the people I work with. You can find out about your individual benefit through active contact with me in a conversation ;-) ... If you too would like to learn more about communication and benefit from more successful business relationships in the long term, please feel free to contact me for a no-obligation discussion. "