During a recent workshop, a participant confessed his lack of empathy, a core dimension of emotional intelligence. He said, “I don’t have any and I don’t know how to even begin to think about feeling the way others do.” Given the laughter and head nodding, he was not alone.
To his surprise, I told him he could amp up his capacity to empathize – to understand the emotions and behavior of others. I suggested he begin by regularly looking at situations through their eyes, not his own. I proposed he say to himself, “How would I feel if I was in this person’s situation, facing these same circumstances? What might be my perspective?” I invited him to walk, even if briefly, in the other person’s shoes and, from that vantage point, see if he is better able to understand their feelings, actions and reactions.
If more empathy would increase your effectiveness, make a conscious choice to look at situations from the perspective of the other.