Empathy

Become a Stronger Leader Through Emotional Intelligence: Social Awareness

Becoming a stronger leader does not happen overnight. It is a continual process built around the core of improving your emotional intelligence. Already improving your Self-Awareness? Time to move onto improving your awareness of others' emotional experience through Social Awareness.

Social Awareness

Moving beyond self-awareness and self-management, a leader observes the behavior of the team. Through social awareness, employees feel heard and appreciated. Weekly meetings are the perfect time to practice active listening. Paraphrasing feelings, content, and meaning, as well as variations within the group are a good way to make members of the team feel heard. Matching and mirroring others people's feelings are also good exercises to being to improve social awareness.

These are skills where empathy is built and developed. Perspective-taking and reflection are key to effective leadership.

Emotional understanding of the team

Good leaders are empathic and have an emotional understanding of and concern for their team. This can be evident in as small a gesture as noticing when an employee is sad or distressed. Facilitate discussions of points of tension and note where the company can make things less stressful.

Awareness of company culture

Hearing and understanding the feelings behind what a colleague or client communicates is represented on a macro level through company culture. Company culture is more than a dress code and Bagel Friday; find out which parts of the mission statement resonate the most with your team. Notice group dynamics and find out what unique strengths and talents each person brings to the team and what keeps them engaged. Set the tone with your own emotionally intelligent style.

Effective managing style

A great leader uses active listening skills and finds commonalities across people and situations. They use self-management and adaptability to guide their team to the desired goal. By practicing self-management and modeling it to newer members of the team, the level of social awareness will raise as each person identifies their motivation.

Which management style works best for your team? Experiment with different methods with strengths and emotional intelligence in mind.

 

Love Means Wanting to Say You're Sorry

Valentine's Day is coming up soon and love is on the mind of many. From red greeting cards and balloons to boxes of chocolates and bouquets of roses, expressions of love are being marketed as tangible goods to be bought. In healthy relationships, love is shown in a multitude of ways in addition to thoughtful gifts.

Love Means Wanting to Say You're Sorry

The 1970 movie Love Story still has cultural significance decades later. Today the famous line "Love means never having to say you're sorry" is quoted and adapted to cover all manner of transgressions. For those of you too young to have seen the original movie, here's a quick synopsis:

In the movie, the characters Jenny and Oliver are friends with vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds who fall in love to the dismay of Oliver's wealthy parents. When Oliver is disowned for choosing Jenny over his wealth and status, the couple begins to build their life together. After a big fight, Jenny says "Love means never having to say you're sorry" to Oliver when he tries apologizing for his anger.

Jenny and Oliver's relationship is not an ideal representation of a healthy marriage and it's not meant to be. Off the silver screen, relationships are complicated and full of personal idiosyncrasies. With my clients, the focus is on improving leadership skills in a business setting. Showing leadership at home and in our personal lives is as important as becoming a stronger leader at work.

This Valentine's Day you can show love at home and at the office by practicing these habits:

  • Active Listening A person feels loved when they feel valued. Actively listening to someone when they are speaking is vital to deepening a relationship. In business, active listening can give you added insight into the needs and wants of your customer. In life, active listening does the same for your loved one, whether family member, friend, or spouse.
  • Develop Empathy Flex your Emotional Intelligence muscle and focus on understanding the emotions and motivations of those around you. Consider the situation from their point of view and try to respond in a loving way. Empathy does not mean agreeing on everything; it means validating the other person's feelings and making their voice feel heard.
  • Apologize Wanting to say you are sorry is a big step toward taking accountability for your actions. If you have hurt someone, an employee, spouse or partner, you need to make amends. When you make a mistake, set aside your ego and acknowledge the severity of your mistake and how it has impacted those around you. Share a sincere apology for the problem and together make a plan for how to move forward.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, dear readers. I hope that the holiday finds you sharing love and feeling loved. Thank you for reading.

Bonus: Do you know that Love Story has the line "Love means never having to say you're sorry" once again in the film? You will have to watch the movie to find it. No spoilers here.