THE five minute EMOTIONAL
INTELLIGENCE (EI) NEWSLETTER - by Johanna Vanderpol
This newsletter is a good way
to increase your emotional intelligence little by little, day by day. Each issue
will have an action step or exercise designed to increase your EI. This is my
gift to you. Enjoy.
SEVENTEEN, JUNE, 2008
1. This Newsletter's Theme
- EMPATHY - Strength or Weakness
3. Did you know? - Some
research on empathy
In my opinion the BarOn Emotional
Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), is one of the best EI assessment tools out there.
According to the EQ-i model, Emotional Intelligence is divided into 15 EI
competencies across 5 realms. This newsletter is the first in a series of
explorations of the 15 EI competencies. We will begin with the EI competency of
Empathy which makes for more successful leaders and managers in the
workplace as well as better relationships in our personal worlds.
1. Empathy -
Strength or Weakness?
What is Empathy anyways? Well,
let's start with a definition taken from p. 111 of The EQ Edge by
Steven Stein and Howard Book: [Empathy is] the ability to be aware of, to
understand and to appreciate the feelings and thoughts of others. Empathy is
"tuning in" (being sensitive) to what, how and why people feel and think the way
they do. Being empathic means being able to "emotionally read" other people.
Empathetic people care aout others and show interest in and concern for
So why would this matter? Because,
if you want successful and pleasant dealings with other people, if you want to
be truly seen and met and heard, if you prefer collaborative partnerships, if
you want better customer relations, if you want a happy marriage, in short if
you want your dealings with people to be pleasant and meaningful in your
personal and work environment, it would be in your best interest to explore how
empathetic you are in your daily dealings with people now and how you could
experiment by being more empathetic and see what happens in your relationships,
even just for one day or for one week. You will experience more pleasant
interactions that just weren't there before.
My personal observation is that
women are more attuned to practising this quality than men. However, men have
this ability just as much as women. So why aren't they using it more? Well, in
our macho culture it was seen as soft and hence weak. But the real truth is that
men who have high performance and success in their lives as well as the
lives around them do listen between the lines to what others have to say. They
ask the right questions (non-threatening) and gather information about the other
person's needs and concerns. They make it safe for others to express their
concerns. And they care about what the other person needs in their life in order
to be happy and successful. And they don't presuppose that they know what it is
that the other person needs. They ask them. From that information, they are able
to proceed to craft and environment or plan that motivates others to participate
in that plan. This can be applied in the business world as well as in family
Empathetic statements begin with
the word "you" as in "you must be feeling or thinking...". Or, even better, you
can ask how another person must be feeling or thinking instead of presuming
anything. Presumptuousness can feel very unattractive to the receiver. The
number one question to hold in your mind when listening to another person is
"how are they feeling?" It is a question of curiosity. If you can craft genuine
curiosity in your dealings with other people, you are well on your way to
crafting the skill of empathy as well.
I think empathy is the number one
skill to develop for pleasant, rewarding and successful relationships. Anyone
has the ability to improve their skills of empathy. And that includes you guys
out there. You may think it is not that important, but think again. In fact, try
it out for yourself. Challenge yourself to the action step below for one
week and observe the results. People love to feel heard. They love to have
their feelings validated. Don't you?
And while you are at it, treat
yourself with empathy too and see some internal changes.
Empathy has the power to change
Would you like more successful
relations in any areas of your life? Then try this action step:
1. For one day to one week (you
choose a time frame to commit to), listen to other people. Listen on the phone,
in emails, in person, bumping into someone on the street, the waiter/waitress in
the restaurant, in the post office, anywhere. Listen. Don't interrupt. Don't
formulate what you will say in response. Don't judge. Be silent. Just listen.
Look for cues as to what is going on, things you might have missed
2. When there is a longer pause
than you usually allow, speak by perhaps asking a question. Some sample
questions to elicit more information are: What do you need to make that happen?
What do you need from me? How can I help? How does that make you feel?
Open-ended questions that cannot be answered by a yes or no shows the other
person respect that their opinions, feelings and needs are valuable. Lack of
suggestions and advice can sometimes be the most honouring experience another
person can have from you. And, it puts them in the driver's seat.
3. See their good qualities they
are bringing to the table in what they are sharing with you and let them know
what you see.
Would you like to work with a
coach to create a pattern of empathetic relating to improve your relationships?
Email me at email@example.com to book an
appointment for a complimentary 30 minute session. To learn more about the
messages in your emotions, take a look at excerpts from my book "Honouring
Your Emotions: Why it Matters" now in it second printing. Take a look at the
excerpts at http://www.johannavanderpol.com/EBOOK_HYE.asp .
Click on "Sample" from Chapters 1, 2 and 3 and read the Introduction. Or, buy
the book online.
Honouring Your Emotions is simply written and
full of profound wisdom and practical advice on how our emotions, when
appropriately managed rather than suppressed, can guide us toward a
more joyous, richer life. I heart-ily recommend Johanna Vanderpol's beautiful
little book to everyone.
- Dr. Candace B. Pert, PhD., Author of
Molecules of Emotion
3. Did you
Research on Roots of
Since 2000, there have been seven
independent evaluations of the effectiveness of Roots of Empathy, as well as two
reviews of the program as a whole. Research has been conducted in Canada and
Across five studies at the
University of British Columbia, one at the University of Western Australia, and
one by the Manitoba government (through Healthy Child Manitoba), results showed
that compared to comparison groups, Roots of Empathy children demonstrated:
- Increased social and emotional
- Increased prosocial behaviour
(e.g. sharing, helping and including) with peers (as rated by teachers)
- Decreased aggression with peers
(as rated by teachers)
This is particularly significant because
children in the comparison classrooms showed increases in aggression across the
Researchers in British Columbia and
Australia looked at specific types of aggression, i.e., proactive (bullying),
physical, relational and reactive. All three of these studies showed a
significant decrease in bullying.
Studies also showed that Roots of Empathy
children felt their peers shared and helped more, and were more inclusive. The
children also reported an increased sense of classroom belonging and peer
In 2001, the Government of Manitoba
commissioned a three-year follow-up study of Roots of Empathy, measuring
prosocial behaviour, physical aggression, and indirect aggression. Results show
a significant improvement in all three behaviours in ROE children immediately
after the program, with improvements in behaviours maintained three years later,
and some behaviours continuing to show improvement.
4. Quotes -
Empathy is part of love and unity - Take an action step
"This is a brilliant century. Eyes
are now open to the beauty of the oneness of humanity, of love and of
brotherhood. The darkness of suppression will disappear and the light of unity
will shine. We cannot bring love and unity to pass merely by talking of it.
Knowledge is not enough. Wealth, science, education are good, we know: but we
must also work and study to bring to maturity the fruit of knowledge.
Knowledge is the first step; resolve, the
second step; action, its fulfillment, is the third step."
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Warmly, Johanna Vanderpol
Emotional Intelligence Coaching,
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