Relationship Building

Respond to People with Empathy

Define empathy. Explain the difference between sympathy and empathy. Evaluate your level of empathy.
  • Leadership is about inspiring others, building trust, and working well with teammates
    • This module focuses on final two elements of Emotional Intelligence (EI), empathy and skilled relationships, and how you can apply them as a leader
  • Be Empathetic
    • Empathy is the ability to recognize and understand others' emotions and take active interest in their concerns
    • Part of our anatomy that helps us be empathetic is mirror neurons - these fire when we perform an action or see someone else perform the same action
    • If you see someone injured or crying, you’re likely to feel differently than if you see someone playing with a pet - this is our mirror neurons at work
  • Evolve with Empathy
    • The rise of the internet and social media has made it easier to “connect” but arguably made “connection” harder - its often difficult to have a meaningful conversation
    • In our hunter-forager days, empathy was limited to our immediate family or tribe. In medieval times, people could empathize with class of people in a village or region. After the fourth industrial revolution, we have access to people and experiences beyond nation-states through the internet
    • Since we have more access to people and experiences than ever before, we also have an opportunity to evolve in empathy, but its something we need to practice
  • Differentiate between Sympathy and Empathy
    • Sympathy - can include emotion, but keeps distance, and makes a judgement about the person or how they should react, and fails to take the other person’s perspective into account
    • Empathy - recognizes the other person’s perspectives and emotions, communicates them back, and withholds judgement
    • Sympathetic responses often don’t help people feel better - there’s more depth and support felt in the empathetic response. It also doesn’t need to solve the problem, just recognize the person’s emotions and situation from their point of view
  • Self-awareness and self-management, the elements of emotional intelligence, help you reflect on your ability to be empathetic
    • This involves stopping to think about the situation and your position (self-awareness), then make a judgement about your level of empathy and how you should respond (self-management)

  • You are not being empathetic when you respond to someone else’s situation and emotions with a judgement on how they should perceive the situation
  • When you have an empathetic response to another person, mirror neurons guide you to feel a connection to the other person’s emotions, and you withhold judgement and communicate what you see the other person is experiencing

Build Skilled Relationships

Define skilled relationship. Develop a team agreement. Explain work styles. Follow best practices to develop skilled relationships.
  • What is a skilled relationship?
    • To relate well with others we need to remain calm and control our emotional outbursts
    • In order to practice “skilled relationship,” it’s important to practice self-awareness, self-management, and empathy
    • The more this is practiced, the better we get at developing trust, inspiring others, and problem solving together
    • First, you need to be aware of yourself and what you’re feeling
    • Then, you focus on managing your emotional response and decide on how best to react in a situation
    • These two steps help you practice empathy
  • Agree on the basics
    • One of the first things to recognize is that your teammates have different feelings about work, different work styles, etc
    • To help everyone meet their potential, it’s best to come up with a team agreement
      • This document is like a job description for the entire team, describing successful behavior and guarding against actions that harm team morale
    • The team agreement should consider the following questions:
      • How do we work together?
        • Specific tools for collaboration? What are our roles?
      • What does success look like?
        • Are there specific metrics we track?
      • How do we agree and disagree?
        • Which forums do we use to address conflicts? Should we include project milestones where we stop to reflect and address disagreements?
      • How do we decide who plays which role?
        • Do our tasks align well with our formal job descriptions? Do certain people need to stretch and do things outside of their job?
      • How do we develop trust?
        • What does respect for each others' work look like?
    • The team agreement helps develop a work environment where we:
      • Come together as a team
      • Trust one another
      • Have room to make mistakes and learn
      • See value in diversity of opinion
      • Are willing to take on new tasks and roles to get work done
  • Recognize work styles
    • Different teammates have different work style and preferences - the better aligned people are with their work style, the more they get done and the more fulfillment they experience
    • Work can be organized into three categories:
      • Tasks: those who prefer tasks enjoy touching the product or service - they often work well on their own
      • Coordination and Communication: those who prefer coordinating and communicating work - they may consider themselves as successful when they help others succeed
      • Organizational Activities: drawn to work that involves planning, influencing the organization, advocating for resources
  • Develop skilled relationships:
    • Guidelines for developing positive, healthy relationships at work:
      1. Accept and celebrate a diverse workplace
      2. Develop active listening skills - foundational for avoiding miscommunication and resolving conflicts
      3. Expand other communication skills - be aware of your habits and how they impact how you communicate
      4. Take time to support those you lead
      5. Manage technology and anticipate its impact
      6. Share your wisdom and invite the wisdom of others
      7. Develop honesty and trust
  • Elevate your Emotional Intelligence Practice
    • An emotional intelligence module is available on Trailhead
      • Includes a lot of the what and why of emotional intelligence - this is horizontal development, or filling your brain with knowledge
      • Also includes practical exercises and best practices, so you can improve at emotional intelligence - this is vertical development, or actually embodying the four key areas of EI: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and skilled relationship

  • Completing a task without any communication is not skilled relationship
  • Teammates who love to write documentation and are a self-starter are best asigned task work