Walking In Someone Else’s Shoes

Carolyn Stern April 6, 2016

Interpersonal is the third area that contributes to emotional intelligence. This is about how we interact with others. Here, we examine our social graces.

These competencies make up the interpersonal area of the EQ model:

  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Empathy
  • Social responsibility

Let’s continue with the second competency under the Interpersonal Composite and discuss Empathy.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes – to pay attention to and appreciate the feelings of others.

The Importance of Empathy:

  1. Meaningful Connections – Having the ability to feel what other people feel is a crucial ingredient in forming meaningful relationships and co-existing peacefully with other people.
  2. Conflict Resolution – Empathy allows you to have an open mind about other opinions and ultimately resolve conflicts quicker.
  3. Positivity – By understanding and accepting others’ feelings and actions, you are unknowingly letting go of negative and judgemental thoughts and introducing more positive and patient ones.

How do you improve your empathy?

  1. Listen – Listening to others and getting to know who they are as a person will allow you to open your mind and understand others’ perspectives.
  2. Ask questions – Usually, if people don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) others, then they either ignore or reject their opinion. Asking questions will allow you to start opening up your mind and results in being closer to fully understanding them.
  3. Respect Others – Empathy is all about feeling for others and it starts with what you say and do. Make sure you communicate your opinion in a respectful manner.
  4. Patience – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was empathy. While empathy is very important to have, it doesn’t come easy to most, so be patient.

If this post has you curious and you’d like to learn more, watch my video on leading with emotional intelligence (training program available in both face-to-face and online delivery formats): Leading with Emotional Intelligence.

Join me next time as I continue to break down the interpersonal emotional intelligence area, and explore the third competency in this area, social responsibility. Until then, before you reject or accuse, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Learn more about emotional intelligence in my previous blogs:

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