EQ and Empathy: 7 Strategies Every Leader Should Integrate into Today’s Hyrid World
Hi everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, EQ and Empathy: Seven Strategies Every Leader Should Integrate In Today’s Hybrid World, hosted by HRDQU and presented by doctor Judith Cardenas.
My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, please type them in the question area on your GoToWebinar control panel, and we’ll answer as many as we can during today’s session.
Today’s webinar is sponsored by Strategies by Design Group: Strategies by Design Group specializes in supporting leaders and organizations that are ready to innovate faster and more successfully, and want to design better solutions or experiences for their customers and employees.
They help foster the culture of innovation needed to stay competitive in today’s modern and ever changing market.
Strategies by Design group applies innovative techniques and approaches to achieve immediate engagement and growth to enhance the connection between behavior design and human centric design.
Learn more at www.strategiesbydesigngroup.com.
I’m excited to introduce our presenter today, Doctor Judith Cardenas. Judith is the President and CEO of Strategies by Design, consulting Firm, helping Organizations across the globe to innovate and design successful solutions and experiences for their clients.
She has spent the last 10 years empowering leaders and organizations to execute their vision and reach their goals through processes focused on innovation and change and co creation.
Her academic background includes a Doctorate in Education Administration, as well as a doctorate in training and performance improvement.
She has completed a variety of postdoctoral training in topics such as innovation design, thinking, digital, facilitation, and AI.
Thank you for joining us today, Judith.
Thank you. Thank you, Sarah, and thank everyone for joining us today. I’m excited to talk about the power of empathy, and empathy, and EQ.
So let me just dive right in and answer a question that I was actually asked by a number of colleagues of. why are you doing a webinar on empathy.
And empathy at its very basic element is critical for any type of innovation and it kind of business growth.
And so I have a question like, Did you know that empathy can have an impact in your bottom line of the bottom line?
According to the Center for Creative Leadership, in November 2020, the code, within those studies said that empathy in the workplace, it’s positively related to job performance.
And what we know is that job performance impacts the bottom line.
Now, we hear a lot about empathy.
But what exactly is empathy, and can someone actually build their empathy behavior?
We’ve heard it all from team leaders, telling us, there’s just some people who are naturally empathetic, and that there’s just some leaders that we know will never, ever grow their empathy behavior, but that is not really what we believe in our organization.
Let’s take a deeper dive on what empathy really is and how Webb’s to really define empathy.
So Webster defines empathy as the action of understanding, being aware of being sensitive to and vicariously, experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another, of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicate in a in the objective explicit manner.
That is a huge definition of empathy, so we’re going to bring it down to really what empathy is in the workplace and the connection between empathy and emotional intelligence, as many of us are all also looking and building up the emotional intelligence capabilities of our leaders and our teams.
So before we take a deep dive, let’s ask a few question, and I’m going to ask Sarah to help me with our first poll question.
And we would love to know, does your organization purposefully focus on ability, empathetic leaders?
Just give us a simple yes or no, so Sarah.
We have this poll. So we’ll give you a few moments here if you can submit your answer and then we’ll share those results out.
We have responses coming in.
Perfect, 10 more seconds here. If you haven’t submitted your answer, you can do so now.
Oh, OK, great.
At these results up on the screen, there we are.
OK, we have 36% saying yes and 64% saying now, wow, that is a surprising statistic from everything we read. So 64% are not necessarily purposely focusing on building empathetic leaders.
Yet we know some basic elements of the power and the impact empathy has on the bottom line.
Let’s see what we can do together today to keep dedicate. Yeah, you know, building our capability. Together as a group, we have another poll question.
Then we want to ask before we take a deeper dive, does your organization dedicate resources and building empathetic remote teams?
Sarah, can you open up the next poll question?
Yes, we have the poll live now, and again, we’ll give you some time here to submit your answer, and then we can discuss the results.
Be excited to see what these results are.
And five more seconds, if you haven’t submitted your answer, OK, perfect.
There we are.
So we have 30% saying yes, and 70% saying no, OK, Wow, those are. That’s a great set of data and thank you for sharing. As all of us know on this call, remote teams are not a thing of the past.
They’re actually a very real thing that many of us are either experiencing as a team player, or someone inside an organization, or some of that’s actually working with an organization. So thanks for sharing that.
So in 20 21, the Forbes article declared empathy is the most important leadership skill.
If that’s the case, why are we running into more and more organizations who believe it’s an important skill?
Forbes is now declaring them one of its articles that the most important leadership skill.
A few of us are actually purposely focusing efforts and resources to actually building these skills among our leaders, and especially among our remote teams.
But the question is, like, even if we build it up, how do we really harness the power of empathy?
Why does it matter, and why does it matter now?
And how do we think of empathy from different perspectives?
House a customer experience, an empathetic customer service rep, maybe very, very different than how a supervisor trains are employed to be empathetic to that customer.
So how to start thinking about empathy from different perspectives is what we have found to be one of the most critical elements in designing our empathy structure and our empathy training.
So there are three types of empathy.
We have cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and compassion and empathy.
And these are three types of them.
But these are expressed differently in the workplace, but they all have bowtie.
Let’s talk about the cognitive empathy.
Cognitive empathy is really the ability to understand how a person feels.
They may understand what a person may be thinking.
It makes us better communicators, because it really helps us relay information in a way that best reaches the other person.
And this comes from just a burrito.
Who is an author on EQ applied in the workplace?
Cognitive empathy is really, but yep, I get it, I understand how they’re feeling.
And having that ability to just simply say that out loud really helps the person that you’re communicating with.
really connect with you, because they really believe that you’re relaying information in a way that reaches each other. So there’s a connection that’s cognitive empathy.
Now, emotional empathy is the ability to share the feelings of one another, so I might understand what you’re going through.
I may not be sharing the exact… of what a person is going through.
Someone had described it as your pain in my heart.
This is the type of the B, It helps you build emotional connections with others.
Now, this is, was very critical when we were doing our initial research, as we’re building out an empathy training for a client that we were working with.
How could someone know and understand how someone feels, but not necessarily feel the actual feeling of someone else?
Can there be two different types of empathy?
Which empathy is going to have the greatest impact in the workplace?
Is it OK for a boss or a supervisor to understand what their employees are going through, but not necessarily feeling the other person’s emotions?
The resounding answer is Yes, but it’s also, how do I then empower and understand how to leverage which type of empathy is most important in which situation?
Then we have compassion, empathy.
And this is better known as empathetic concern, because beyond simply understanding and sharing feelings, it actually moves us to take action.
Compassionate empathetic leaders tend to take action towards helping somewhat speedy manner.
Let’s take a step back one more time.
I might understand what someone feels.
I might feel what someone feels.
But a compassionate empathetic leader will actually take action on what is fun on understanding what the other person is feeling.
So three different types of empathy, all three different types of empathy in the workplace, which is, you could tell it the supervisor, or training, or coach, and all the different types of responsibilities that are represented in this webinar.
There are many different ways that empathy is expressed in the workplace.
Now, before we move forward, we just want to clarify something.
And this is something that we have debated among monk teems with teams.
And it’s probably the biggest shift that we have seen when people can differentiate between empathy versus sympathy.
So, Websphere helps us place a clear distinction between these two terms, that is, when you share the feelings of another, and empathy is when you understand the feelings of another.
And so you might understand them cognitively, Or emotionally, while you may understand that such way that you take action in a very different way, but sympathy is when you share the feeling with someone else.
So oftentimes, I’ll have supervisors come and talk to us and say, I believe I’m a very empathetic leader, but when I ask for an example, they’re expressing more sympathy than they are empathy.
So again, a question to ask yourself, as well as to ask your leaders, or listen in a very different way to understand, how are they expressing their empathy?
Is it more sympathy than empathy and sympathy? What type of empathy?
And who would have known that if a B has so many different variations and complexities?
But it’s so powerful at the end when you can actually uncover how to share these insights about empathy and how to reach them in your workplace.
But where is all this heading?
There’s power and adding new and dynamic training elements to the one’s EQ develops.
So emotional intelligence development is powerful.
Having that training and understanding of one’s own emotions, and that social intelligence that is connected with EQ it can be life-changing, can help a team reform and refocus in a way that is very impactful.
But ended up itself, EQ, one is added to additional training and unashamed of empathy we believe that’s the, the marriage, or that’s the connection that really has explosive power in the workplace.
Empathy, training can look and feel very different for people in situation.
This is one of the areas that I would say, take a step back when you’re looking ad, buying the empathy training, or bringing in someone that actually does empathy training with your team.
one size doesn’t fit all.
And empathy in and of itself is expressed differently for every organization, for every mission of an organization. And with the diversity of the people that are part of this arc, an organization.
But we have some new and exciting ways that we build empathy that we wanted to share with you.
So who would have no in today’s world, in 2022, we actually have apps that develop empathetic skill.
Now, for the most part, I would say that these apps are used.
Basically, with the Gen Zs, a younger generation, they’re also used a lot colleges in different kinds of advance high school settings.
They’re also used in a lot of organizations who use a lot of social media to build up skill sets.
We wanted to just share with you a couple of our favorite apps that we have seen used in the workplace, whether it’s been in K through 12, or higher ed, or a government setting, or for-profit.
So there’s actually an app called the Random App of Kindness, who would have no great title, and this particular app will actually walk a participant.
There’s different types of kindness that can be expressed in different situations.
So it’s a way of teaching someone how to express kindness during change, or maybe during a place where there’s pain and there’s a need to express kindness.
It’s almost as simple every day.
These are a couple of ways you can actually express your random acts of kindness, the Random acts of kindness, a great app.
If you ever want to download it and play with it, it’s a lot of fun.
Headspace is one of our favorites. Headspace, as you know, is an app that combines behavioral science with cognitive science.
That space has app elements that all focus around meditation and taking time and communication. But they also have elements of empathy that they can actually help you build empathy by asking specific questions.
So that you can actually have a shift in the way you think, or feel about a specific situation.
So headspace is another app that we use and have seen used in the workspace.
And our approach is quite different, and our approaches continues to be developing as we continue to work.
We use and empathy toy.
And I don’t know how many of you out there who are listening on the call have actually used an empathy toy, but playing and being playful tends to help build organizations in a very different way. And it helps to build teams in a very different way.
We’ll talk a bit about the empathy to–I today, then talk about maybe some strategies we’d like for all of you to consider.
As you’re thinking about how could we continue to build empathy, and empathy is this important, and has a direct implication to our bottom line.
It influences how customers feel and understand how we react to them.
Empathy is key, and we’re going to talk a little bit about the empathy toy.
So, the empathy toy was designed by a company called 21 twice, and there are actually two toys that we use from this company.
We use the empathy toy and the failing fast way, and both of them are really focused on individuals’ relationship in regards to my relationship with empathy, or my relationship with failure, how I defined it, how I actually integrated, and what I do.
Well, how I believe empathy is actually is expressed as an expression of who I am as a leader.
The toys are fun and they oftentimes bring out the best, sometimes even the worst, among team members when we’re actually trying to work to toy scenario.
Here’s an example of one way that we use the empathy toy.
Though, as you can see in this particular visual, we have this wooden structure that’s in front of the computer, and that is our empathy toy.
In a nutshell, what happens is, you have a builder, and then you have the, you have the builders and then you have the person who’s actually directing the building, and if you think about it, we’re all builders and organizations in one way, shape, or form, but we’re taking direction from people in many different ways, And sometimes we’re taking multiple direction, and multiple different ways.
So, we have the guy who’s guiding our decisions and how we to implement solutions, and when we have the builders, who are actually building the solution.
Again, going back to the workplace, to us, it was a perfect example of really what happens to at work.
We had the guy who could be a supervisor or team lead or CEO.
Then we have the builder’s the people who actually have the best and most intimate connection with our clients, and those who are actually building the infrastructure of our organization.
For this particular training, this was a training that we did where we actually did the empathy training virtually, not even in person, and this is where we asked people to turn their cameras off.
We actually have the guide actually describe the pattern that the builder needed to build using the wooden blocks.
As you can imagine, every builder heard it differently.
Every builder heard a different direction, and depending on how clear the guide was, or how, almost precise the guide gave us, guide gave us directions.
The builders had to figure out how to be more empathetic to the guide, and the guide had to learn to be more empathetic to the builders.
That’s just one simple scenario that could take up to 30 minutes when we’re actually working on.
how, How are you building empathy. So this goes beyond listening skills.
This goes beyond, ask questions.
This really goes into having an understanding of how your team members are understanding the bill as a builder.
Understanding the perspective and are they empathetic enough to understand where the guide is coming from?
and how the directions are actually given?
Then, we make it just a little bit more interesting where we actually ask the builder and the guy to blindfold themselves.
Yep. Even virtually, we did this blindfolded, even virtually.
Now, one may ask, how would you do that? Why would you blindfold virtually?
Well, let’s think about it.
Many times, I receive a Slack message or e-mail message.
I wasn’t there with the guide who, when he sent it. The guide was not in front of me when he sent it.
And I will be receiving this information almost blindly, if you think about it.
So we are all using 4 or 5 different channels of communication, And many times, those communication elements are rarely face-to-face.
Now, we do have Zoom meetings and things of that nature, but even then, the ability to build empathy is very, very different.
Here’s a scenario where we actually have the builder give directions to the guy, given the directions to the builder.
And both are blindfolded frustrating, maybe how people express their empathy in the questions that they ask quickly schiff’s if you actually blindfolded.
So, those are just a couple of elements that we use in our empathy training.
Now, this webinar is not about selling them the big training or talking to you about our approach to empathy training, but it is, we did want to express to you that we’ve looked at different kinds of empathy training that’s out there in the market, and we wanted to find a couple of things that were very different.
We wanted to find an empathetic way of building empathy that’s personalized.
That had enough diversity of perspective that you could actually continue to build the skill set in many different angles, and that was playful.
So empathy in it of itself, can be like a very hard topic to grasp as a team, but when it becomes a part of a game and part of interacting together, as a team and a game, then the stakes are a little bit different. And the shields of protection are a little bit different.
And so we actually have found a lot of great success using a game features Park Empathy building.
one of the things we keep building on is trying to create multiple scenarios that mirror real life.
So prior to actually using a toy, we use it.
Train empathy through scenarios, or case studies, but some types of scenarios were just one dimensional.
They were not multiple dimensions that actually express a different lens and different perspectives of all our different types of customers and all our different perspectives internally.
And this is where we actually started searching.
And this would be a question I would ask all of you, as you’re looking at developing your E T training or your empathy training.
Are there enough multiple scenarios that actually mirror real life if they’re not, what needs to be added or enhanced, so that when you’re actually building the training, it is a little bit more comprehensive.
And, it actually allows the learner to look at different scenarios, and build their agility, and their ability to pivot on how they express their empathy in the workplace.
Now, you might ask, why are multiple scenarios really that necessary?
Doesn’t everybody experienced the same type of frustration and the same way? We’d say, no, they don’t!
And how you experience it and how you express it are two very, very different things.
The last couple of months we really have been delving in on how are my team members experiencing the different situations where they have to express the empathy and how are they actually expressing that?
This is as much about them developing their own empathy capability, as much as they are learning how to express empathy behavior.
So we believe that it’s just an additional step. Almost like an additional add onto the EQ, the empathy part of EQ.
But the two together, pretty powerful.
We’ve learned a lot of lessons by using the toy and sharing our new strategies and building empathy.
And we wanted to talk to all of you about seven strategies, we believe you might want to consider, think about, it may be actually even articulate a little differently, or maybe you want to change the strategy differently inside your organization.
So the first strategy that we like to recommend to teams and organizations is that empathetic behavior building should be included as part of our leadership design.
Oftentimes, it’s an afterthought, or oftentimes we just make an assumption that many of our leaders have a strong empathy muscle.
And what we know is that we have different three types of empathy that we’ve never talked about. What empathy do you want your leadership team to have?
Is it more that cognitive or emotional empathy?
How can it be expressed who should be expressed to how does express who that express is? a lot, is in alignment with the values of the organization.
These are all questions that you may want to consider when you’re building out your strategy for development, in this case, leadership, design, development.
Strategy two, Empathy team building is critical in a remote world.
Take action to include team building exercises.
Now, we know that the remote world, or the virtual world, does not allow people to express certain human cues that would be necessary to build immediate trust in media connections, But what we do know is that, for teams to build empathy in a virtual space, there, it’s not only about virtual meetings, It’s not always about a Zoom meeting.
It could be as simple as, sometimes I’ll receive a message of slack, and I’ll think, oh, my God, it’s so cold.
Or, what’s wrong with them today?
Or you all have an immediate reaction to something that has been expressed as an or an exchange of information in a virtual space.
And so empathy, team building is critical.
How we relate to one another as a team, how we relate to our customers as a team.
So strategy choose to make sure to include a team building element that includes remote types of realities.
Those type of exercises are fun and they goes way beyond an icebreaker.
And it goes way beyond A, um, know, let’s have some drinks, you know, virtual drinks. You know, after work.
That is, those are two great things for team building, but to be purposeful, we really should just to have some sympathetic team building activities.
Number three: Diversify your empathy building activities.
one size doesn’t fit all.
We recently worked with an organization in which, uh, they were having some bottlenecks in their business processes, and not only were those bottlenecks occurring from an operational perspective, they were happening, we had, they were happening simultaneously with an increase of customer complaints.
When we looked at it, we identified that, the training that they had gone through mostly was a training for, like a normal situation. Like, This is your everyday kinda questions you’re gonna get from your customers.
Here’s some everyday concerns they may express may have. This may be how they express them.
But for that particular organization, that particular time, but when we uncovered was that sometimes their critical time became so intense, that the way that they have the emotion and the ability to express empathy diminished.
So what we did was we designed some empathy training for specific points in time in the workplace or during the work here.
That just means they need some different skill sets. Are different tools or different ways to ask a question?
Are different ways to express the cognitive or emotional empathy?
Diversification of empathy building activities is key. one size doesn’t fit all.
And even for an organization, you look at an organization, and there are times where you have more connection with customers, versus other times.
There are more intense times than other times.
And understanding all those different kinds of diversification of experiences should have a direct correlation with your empathy building activities.
So consider that as you’re thinking about your leadership development activities.
Strategy for EQ and empathy: How to create powerful purpose?
For us, powerful purpose creation is really building upon emotional intelligence by adding on these additional empathetic activities and skill sets.
For our employees employ teams, when they’re done simultaneously, not only do you get an employee that is very self-aware, it has a great understanding of who they are as a leader, and how they express their emotions, and how they understand their own triggers.
But you have them to be able to build upon what we believe is one of the most critical elements in the workplace, and that’s empathy.
The EQ and empathy part equals powerful purpose.
Strategy number five: Design, virtual empathetic, team building activities.
Create different scenarios for your teams, all focused on different timeframes, whether your team is actually taking a trouble ticket in the middle of the night, how would that empathy look like, or how would that empathy be expressed.
Design, virtual empathetic team building activities not only helps your team, the empathy, among each other, Also, help them understand how they can best be empathetic to the customer that they’re serving.
So again, diversification of activities, diversification between time of the year types of activities included in all of your leadership development activities, added on to your EQ, design specific virtual empathetic team building activities, regardless of what you use if you’re using an app or toy.
These are some of the strategies that you need to really consider.
Strategy number six.
Create a communication strategy so that your out of office e-mail responses are empathetic.
Now, we’ve heard this from so many people, that, when we meet with someone face to face, it’s a totally different experience than when we’re actually just communicating with them via e-mail.
Everything seems a little bit more colder, more methodical, more, less empathetic.
When we’re actually using e-mail or Slack messaging, um, or even, you know, messaging and some of these new collaborative tools.
Create a community strategy that’s empathetic.
How can your out of office, e-mail response look more empathetic?
How can it be, you know, when somebody has an urgent need?
and they are just, ah, they need some help. They have a question that they need, and they know you are the person that can help them.
The rat go to their office. They send an e-mail, and they get back.
out of the office, or X amount of days, That thinking feelings, that that customer or client might have, of, I have this urgent need, but I don’t know what to do next.
So, I would suggest, not only out of the office, but you may want to brainstorm with your team to figure out what are the other kinds of e-mail messages or messages that are used in Slack channel. Or what are the rules of engagement.
Using some of our collaboration tools, that the communication strategy are more empathetic, both from a cognitive and an emotional perspective.
We found that working with teams, and actually even shifting, just the words, or even the messaging, saints, IBO the office now, but I have someone who can help you just really shifts the way the customer and the client on the other end receive that information.
Now, most of us would think, like, how would we do that?
Well, we would do that because we’re here to build relationships with our customers and clients, and many times, the majority of the way we build it, at least right now, is through the virtual space and through e-mail.
There are times, and I’m sure all of you can agree to this, that you’ll receive an e-mail to think, like, oh, that was harsh, or what did they mean, or just don’t understand?
Having a communication strategy connected to empathy or empathetic approach as a company.
It’s a differentiator. There are companies that I work with that I would, I find that delightful, even when they tell me, no, I find it delightful.
So, creating that type of strategy where people understand our, that you understand them, and that there’s a way to help them, you will actually decrease customer complaints, increase customer engagement.
So, communication strategy.
Words matter, the words you use in your communication, both in person, virtually written, within a collaboration tool. They create cultures, So words matter, and they create a culture where words matter.
So, oftentimes, we’ve been given some of the best advice of, you know, when you’re not very happy with this customer, take a step back.
Give yourself, you know, breathe deep, give yourself a couple of minutes before actually responding back to them.
There’s nothing more irritating to a customer.
They’re not believing that they’re being heard on the other side, and then, receiving that, almost like a canned e-mail, it’s, like, well, now I know I’m not really being heard.
So understanding that words matter, goes back to the communication strategy, as well.
The working in creating a culture where people on your team and in your organizations understand that words matter, and words, create worlds, then that is just, to us. That is a game changer.
So, I went in and I did a quick little analysis of the number of e-mails that I have received last week.
On an average day, I can receive about 80 to 100 e-mail. So, that’s close to 5 or 700 a week.
And I would tell you that maybe 10.
I have the 700 or positive.
They felt warm, they felt like someone was listening to me.
If somebody was out of the office, I knew where to go next, or I knew that there was another contact I could get to.
For those people who are not in the office, because they are in the UK or in another country, I knew that somebody would respond to me within 24 hours.
I knew something. I felt like someone heard me, they understood what I was saying, even though have, it’s never really in front of them.
But ten out of seven hundred.
For me that wasn’t satisfactory.
And for me that’s really asked myself and my team let’s take a step back and see what words are using in your e-mail.
And what words are you expressing?
In your autoresponder, even autoresponders, words matter?
So make sure to, you know to think about that and to find very creative ways inside your organization.
Where you can actually start creating and redesigning words in your message.
So, with that, Sarah, has anybody asked any questions throughout our session?
And we’d love to open it up, are some Q and A, and then talk a little bit about how they can connect with us and what’s next.
Yes, so if you have any questions, please jot them down in the questions area, on your GoToWebinar control panel, so that we can answer those for you today. We did have a question come through a bit earlier, and the question was, leaders often think that empathy and accountability are on opposing sides. How do you help them realize that they can coexist on the same side?
That’s a great question.
So, oftentimes, we talk about accountability in a lot of different ways.
First thing I would do is get very clear of how the company is defining accountability.
Is accountability responding in a certain way, responding with a certain period of time.
So I’ve worked with companies who their response rate had to be so fast that their messaging was so not on point.
So, what I would suggest is that I do believe empathy and accountability go hand in hand.
I think he can be accountable to your organization, as well as to your customers, but done in a way. In which words actually do matter.
How you express that you can actually are listening to the customer’s questions, or suggestions or complaints, have a lot to do. Whether or not you’re going to have a re retention with your customers.
So, understanding where the retention element comes from, and for many customers, it’s emotional.
If people don’t believe that they are heard, or they’re actually being taken care of, they will take their business somewhere else.
Though, accountability, empathy do go hand in hand, and I believe empathy is a way to express accountability, but it can be expressed in such a way that it expresses both cognitive and emotional empathy.
That’s a great question.
Thank you for asking that.
And we have another question here from John, who would like to know what are some specific examples of virtual empathy building activities?
So, one of them was the toy. And I’ll be more than happy to share with the audience.
A couple of examples, some images that we use, even if we don’t have a toy, where we actually can bring teams together.
They act, we actually will always name a builder, and we will the guide. So, there’s always a builder and a guide scenario.
And what we do is, we play with different formats of how that guide actually tells the Builder what to build.
They could actually turn their camera off, and turn sound off, and they might only give direction via Chat.
We’ve had situations where we’ve had the chat all the sound off and the video off, and they only receive the message to be an e-mail, and they have to figure out what the e-mail tells them as a builder to build.
We’ve had scenarios where we actually only have messaging via text message.
And we do all those types of scenarios, because that’s the real work world of work. And, you know, I might be on a call.
I’ll be receiving a text message, and the text message may feel not complete, but I’m getting a direction by someone to do something, and I’m trying to figure out what that really means.
So, to me, it’s the guide, and I’m the builder, and I’m trying to respond to that guide.
So, I’ll be more than happy to share with everyone on the call, I can, we’ll send out an image, an example of a guide, builder activity.
And you can use that to build and start the discussions around empathy.
What did you hear? What did you feel? How frustrated, where you, how do you express that frustration?
As the guide, how clear were you with directions?
Someone’s left to someone’s right.
Higher up perspective, view looks a little bit different from A right perspective for an image.
So there’s so many different scenarios that you can use, but that is probably the best and fastest way to actually start the discussion around sympathetic training.
We also have found that when we work with organizations, we ask two major questions.
Number one, what is the major way or, the, the, the way your organization communicate the most?
It’s amazing to see how many organizations rely on the written word, and sometimes e-mails, just don’t cut it.
But that is the major mode of communication. So, we always ask that question.
So, I’ll ask that of all of you, what is your major way of communicating with each other inside your organization?
And, number two, how often are these communications, directives versus suggestion?
We found that a lot of organizations don’t differentiate between the two, and oftentimes our builders, our team members, are people who have the face to the organization, to the customers, can’t always differentiate what’s important.
What needs to take place first, second, and third?
So, that lack of connection and understanding what someone else’s feels actually will B could become very apparent to the team, and cos intention of friction.
So, asking yourself and your organization, how you communicate and based on your communication, are they mostly directives? Are they mostly like suggestions or ideas that just sharing with, with people?
Asking those two questions, will help you really then take the guide and the builder activity, and then play out different scenarios.
Great, and we have another question here from Mary Beth, and Mary Beth asks, if you can provide specific examples of sympathy, verse empathy, and how to help leaders understand that difference.
That’s a great, great question.
So, I would say that when someone can say, I feel with you versus, I feel, for you.
Is the biggest differentiator. So I’ll go back to the scenario I talked about.
It was with the team leader of a large government organization, and he believed that he was really being empathetic to his team members that he felt like he was listening to them, that he understood what their needs were.
And when asking him how he would express that, you would constantly be telling them, I feel that you, I feel you, I feel for you.
Versus, I feel, with you, and I understand where you are, going through it.
Those are two very different things.
If you’re feeling with someone, and you’re in their emotion, it’s extremely hard. For you to be empathetic, you’re more sympathetic.
But if you feel with someone, and you understand their emotion, versus for someone, then that’s more empathetic.
So it’s about words.
It’s about clarifying the differentiation of gain into someone’s emotional state, versus understanding someone’s emotional state, and being able to express the ability to understand it.
I would say it’s one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned. Working with teams. They don’t differentiate between the two or a customer service rep, iPad customer service rep, who say, oh, I feel, I feel you.
I don’t want someone to feel me unwelcome. And it helps someone understand why I’m calling with this concern and how can they help me?
But for them, there would be more sympathetic than they were empathetic.
Starting to understand and listen to how your employees, your teams, are expressing their connection with your customers, would be the very first step.
Second step is showing them the differentiation between sympathy versus empathy.
We have a comment here from stem, building on that, who said, Sympathy is getting stuck in the mud with the person? Empathy is understanding that they are stuck in the mud, but have the ability to assist them to get out. I love that visual. I will create a screenshot for that. Great, in there. that is. Wonderful. Thank you so much.
And we have another question here, from Lisa, and Lisa says, how can teams who are struggling with discussion around diversity, equity, and inclusion, use, empathy and technology to help them work through it?
So, we actually have a scenario that we use with the toy around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
And I always like to say, you know, you might be invited to the dance. But have you really been invited to dance?
You know how you differentiate that again and then again. It goes back to the sympathy and empathy question.
So, number one, I do align diversity, inclusivity, diversity, equity, and inclusivity, types of activities.
There is a difference between understanding them are getting in the mud with them versus understanding how to actually design solutions and how to communicate the bleed of diversity.
Equity and inclusivity.
There is a direct correlation between the empathy and sympathy discussion we’ve been having very much so, that can evolve. When we actually work with our toy in particular.
People define things differently. They come from different backgrounds, they put value on things that are differently.
There’s no judgement.
So, creating a space where there is no judgement, creating a space, to understand that maybe the way I am giving direction maybe be very offensive to somebody, I’m thinking, yeah, might be helpful, they might be thinking, you’re very intrusive.
So having that started those discussions in a safe space, I would say that that psychological safety is what the game has given us.
Is to create those different scenarios of understanding how diversity and inclusivity is actually expressed in the organization, how it’s communicated, how the words that are used to communicate matter, so that it’s just not fluff, it’s actually something that we believe in, we walk the walk, the talk, the talk, it’s the one that’s ingrained in what we do every day.
So we, we have been able to take the toy game and actually create a number of DEI types of activities to actually even help someone, when they’re interviewing someone, when they’re interviewing a candidate, when they’re coaching an employee, when they’re promoting an employee, when they’re actually understanding the customer’s needs. We also have a lot of information about biases.
We all are biased and one way or the other, those biases influence our ability to be empathetic with each other.
So it’s a mixture of the empathy with the bias and creating a safe way to actually start developing those conversations around the words that we use, and how we express the words, DEI initiatives.
Their sorting needed in our world are tough discussions to have, but they are needed today to be had for everyone for the betterment of our world.
So we do believe empathy really, Hollins write in.
And again, I think one of the challenges I have for a lot of organizations is for your DEI initiatives. Are they sympathetic? Or are they empathetic?
Because they’re two very different things.
So that would be my answer for that question. Great question.
Great. And we have another question from Lisa Number two. and lead this Lisa, we’d like to know, Is it OK to disclose some of your life experiences while showing empathy or sympathy.
I believe that it is as long as you put it into context.
Because once you start sharing your own life experiences, and it becomes about you, and not about the person you’re serving, are not about the person yet, as part of your team, that will get lost.
So putting context to why you’re sharing it, and I always, always start, before I share life experience by asking, is it OK if I share an Experience Simmers experience with you?
Sometimes, it’s not as appropriate because how you perceive that experience and how they perceive that experience may be very, very different.
But it is a way of actually expressing to the person that you’re talking to, a level of understanding or your interests, and trying to understand them from a cognitive or emotional perspective.
So I would say, put context to it.
Ask permission before you actually share it.
Then, know where to stop.
Don’t overshare, don’t get into the emotion that you have because then it will actually become more about you than it does about them. It’s a delicate balance.
And then I think after you work and do that enough times, intuitively, you’ll know, want to share. when not to share.
When does, when does it not add value to the conversation, more importantly, when does it not add value to adding to the empathy competency of that individual?
Great, and we have another question here from Stephanie, and I would like to know, how can we help our team leaders to effectively communicate with empathy?
That’s a great question.
So I would suggest, first of all, maybe doing a culture map, our activity, and that’s basically understanding what is the organization value, What does the organization reward waterson behaviors that are not rewarded in the organization.
And then understand a bit about how we want that culture of your team to actually be expressed. That would be the first place.
The reason I say start there is because you want to have a direct connection and correlation between the culture of your organization and how you want your team to function.
It’s almost a disaster when your team functions at a high empathetic level, but the culture of the organization does not, you want to make sure to have alignment from the start.
Then what I would do is I would do a communication audit.
And that’s simply about, who do we communicate with? How do we communicate?
How often, what are the different types of scenarios?
Those things will help you design scenario empathetic activities.
So it’s almost like doing some brainstorming sessions.
This is where I’ve had the boat, you know, most issue, this is where I’ve been the most successful in communicating, helping your team understand the difference between empathy and sympathy, and even having them understand the different types of empathy’s, It’s a big eye opener. It was an eye opener for me that there was just like more than one type of empathy that’s out there.
I would definitely focus on doing that communication audit, to understand where they’re struggling. And then I would start building up their empathy capability.
Some people have more of an opportunity to express sympathy, because they may have a different relationship with it. They might be client facing, or they may have an opportunity to build that type of communication. While others not as much.
We’ve noticed that teams that tend to not have any client facing activity take a little bit longer to build their empathy skill.
They don’t have really way to express it on a continuous basis to build it up inside the organization.
But creating those opportunities is quite helpful and making sure to really embed the idea that this is this continuum.
They just don’t have one empathy training and then ooops everybody becomes sympathetic and our team.
I think that’s one of the things we’ve seen.
That has been the most heartbreaking for us is that we do allow these DEI trainings and empathy training, that communication training to one Hawks.
And people are not one-off, people are whole.
Learning is continuous.
Life is continuous.
And so, building upon these types of activities in a continuous way, then becomes very natural put the team.
Does it become a one-off or flavor of the month?
And, making sure that, at the end of every one of your trainings, that there’s action, always have a commit type of phase of your, your workshops, or your meetings, so that there’s one action, each team member can take.
As it relates, them, building their own empathy capability, those would be the three big buck I would focus on.
Great. We have time here for a couple of more questions and one being from Carol, and Carol would like to know how can you differentiate empathy versus compassion?
That’s, that’s a great question.
So sometimes I can be empathetic both, from a cognitive and emotional perspective. But it doesn’t actually call me to take any kind of action.
And compassion, what we find, at least how people have defined compassion, is that many times, compassionate leaders are people who are compassionate about a purpose, or, and the bad tend to take action quicker.
So I might be empathetic from a cognitive perspective. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to take any action. It just means that. I understand where you’re coming from.
You do want a level of compassionate, of compassion to be included in your empathy training.
You want some type of action that will occur most, but we suggest that would occur as close to the timing of the actual event or interaction between the client and the employee or the client and the team or the team members.
Mumbai that, I mean, if you hear something, you understand where someone’s coming from, but you take no action, really, that expression to that person, is they didn’t care, So you, yeah. Are you really that empathetic?
So you’re going to want to have some level of compassion that’s expressed by action that’s included in your, in your empathy training or empathy building of your employees.
I think that’s a great question. I don’t think it’s either or, I think it’s a combination of both.
Great, and then the final question for today from Alex: What workplace elements should we think about as we are creating empathy training?
The environment, first of all, is the environment conducive to allow an employee to express sympathy.
And this could go back to, on the very first question, Sarah, that she shared with me about accountability.
We’ve worked with organizations where they are so time bound, that people don’t feel I have enough time to express sympathy.
But we believe that if you embed that in the culture, in the words, in your responses, and how you train, maybe, like customer service reps or other people, to respond in certain ways, it does not take away from that level of accountability, but, number one, I would say, the environment.
Make sure the environment gives an opportunity for someone to build an empathetic skill set, so that there is enough confidence that they can continue to build it and express. That’s the first thing.
Second thing is diversify the activities around the empathy training, as well as around a lot of all your leadership training.
one size doesn’t fit all.
We also know that empathy is not expressed in the same way by everybody in every situation.
So diversified the activity so that people can touch and feel what empathy feels and different scenarios.
How I feel like I’m being heard over the phone, it’s very, very different than how I feel and be heard via Zoom.
So everything from bio language, to how you express something, to the words you express, to what you put in the chat box, that those are all very, very key elements that should be included in any kind of training package. It’s a whole package. It’s just not focused on the function of the empathy itself.
And then, I think the third thing is Reward.
You know, you want to reward people, teams, and organizations, for being empathetic to who they serve. Its empathy is key to innovation, and it’s key to us.
Designing creative solutions, and it’s key to being agile. And so empathy in and of itself is powerful, but the results empathy gifts to an organization can be life-changing.
So the more empathetic a team or organization is, the more likely there’ll be innovative, the more likely they’ll be. There will be agile. They’ll be able to uncover a need of an of a customer of employee before they even express it.
Because they’ve listened, they’ve understood.
They’ve understood it from an emotional perspective. And hopefully they’ve shaken a little bit of compassion on that as well.
And they’ve taken action to learn how that action really has had an impact on their customers.
So those are the elements that I would consider adding as you’re designing the training.
Well, great, that was, we had some fantastic questions coming through in that Q and A session today.
It was, thank you so much for everything. I have just, you know, enjoyed my time.
Just wanted to make sure that you have, what any more information, while learn more about what we do to feel free to, uh, job by our website at www.strategiesbydesigngroup.com, or even connect with me via our LinkedIn group.
So, we have our LinkedIn Company page, as well as I have my own personal LinkedIn page, we’d love to stay connected and share our insights and learnings and, and make sure that we continue to grow our empathetic world together.
So, thank you so much for joining us and Sarah, thank you and HRDQU for all that you do for us.
Well, thank you, and today’s webinar is sponsored by Strategies by Design Group: Strategies by Design Group applies innovative techniques and approaches to achieve immediate engagement, and growth to enhance the connection between behavior design and human centric design. You can learn more, as Judith said, at WWW dot strategies by design group dot com. And if you’d like to learn more on topics like today, HRDQU memberships offers over 200 Human Resource webinars to trainers, and coaches keeping, you know, with industry trends, as well as workforce virtual seminars. And they would, your instructor led classes on key training topics for your employees.
Whether you’re a professional learner or a learning professional, we’ve got your training needs covered. You can learn more at www.hrdqu.com/memberships. That is all the time that we have for today. Thank you very much for joining us today.
Thank you. Thank you, Sarah. Everyone, have a wonderful afternoon.
Yes, and thank you all for participating in today’s webinar, happy training.
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Question: How can you differentiate empathy versus compassion?
Answer: So sometimes I can be empathetic both, from a cognitive and emotional perspective. But it doesn’t actually call me to take any kind of action. And compassion, what we find, at least how people have defined compassion, is that many times, compassionate leaders are people who are compassionate about a purpose, or, in the bad, tend to take action quicker. So I might be empathetic from a cognitive perspective. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to take any action. It just means that, I understand where you’re coming from. You do want a level of compassionate, of compassion to be included in your empathy training. You want some type of action that will occur most, but we suggest that would occur as close to the timing of the actual event or interaction between the client and the employee or the client and the team or the team members. So you’re going to want to have some level of compassion that’s expressed by action that’s included in your empathy training or empathy building of your employees.
Question: How can we help our team leaders to effectively communicate with empathy?
Answer: So I would suggest, first of all, maybe doing a culture map activity, and that’s basically understanding what is the organization value, what does the organization reward, what are some behaviors that are not rewarded in the organization. And then understand a bit about how we want that culture of your team to actually be expressed. That would be the first place. The reason I say start there is because you want to have a direct connection and correlation between the culture of your organization and how you want your team to function. It’s almost a disaster when your team functions at a high empathetic level, but the culture of the organization does not, you want to make sure to have alignment from the start. Then what I would do is I would do a communication audit. And that’s simply about, who do we communicate with? How do we communicate? Those things will help you design scenario empathetic activities. This is where I’ve had, you know, most issue, this is where I’ve been the most successful in communicating, helping your team understand the difference between empathy and sympathy, and even having them understand the different types of empathy’s. It’s a big eye-opener. It was an eye-opener for me that there was just like more than one type of empathy that’s out there. I would definitely focus on doing that communication audit, to understand where they’re struggling. And then I would start building up their empathy capability.
Question: How can teams who are struggling with discussion around diversity, equity, and inclusion, use, empathy and technology to help them work through it?
Answer: So, we actually have a scenario that we use with the toy around diversity, equity, and inclusion. And I always like to say, you know, you might be invited to the dance. But have you really been invited to dance? You know how you differentiate that again and then again. It goes back to the sympathy and empathy question. So, number one, I do align diversity, inclusivity, diversity, equity, and inclusivity, types of activities. There is a difference between understanding them and getting in the mud with them versus understanding how to actually design solutions and how to communicate the belief of diversity, equity and inclusivity. There is a direct correlation between the empathy and sympathy discussion we’ve been having very much so, that can evolve. When we actually work with our toy in particular. People define things differently. They come from different backgrounds, they put value on things that are differently. There’s no judgement. So, creating a space where there is no judgement, creating a space, to understand that maybe the way I am giving direction maybe be very offensive to somebody, I’m thinking, yeah, might be helpful, they might be thinking, you’re very intrusive. So having that started those discussions in a safe space, I would say that that psychological safety is what the game has given us.
Question: If you can provide specific examples of sympathy, versus empathy, and how to help leaders understand that difference.
Answer: So, I would say that when someone can say, I feel with you versus, I feel, for you. Is the biggest differentiator. So I’ll go back to the scenario I talked about. It was with the team leader of a large government organization, and he believed that he was really being empathetic to his team members that he felt like he was listening to them, that he understood what their needs were. And when asking him how he would express that, you would constantly be telling them, I feel you, I feel you, I feel for you. Versus, I feel with you, and I understand where you are going through. Those are two very different things. If you’re feeling with someone, and you’re in their emotion, it’s extremely hard. For you to be empathetic, you’re more sympathetic. But if you feel with someone, and you understand their emotion, versus for someone, then that’s more empathetic.
Question: What are some specific examples of virtual empathy building activities?
Answer: So, one of them was the toy. And I’ll be more than happy to share with the audience. A couple of examples, some images that we use, even if we don’t have a toy, where we actually can bring teams together. We actually will always name a builder, and the guide. So, there’s always a builder and a guide scenario. And what we do is, we play with different formats of how that guide actually tells the builder what to build. They could actually turn their camera off, and turn sound off, and they might only give direction via chat. We’ve had situations where we’ve had the chat off, the sound off and the video off, and they only receive the message to be an e-mail, and they have to figure out what the e-mail tells them as a builder to build. We’ve had scenarios where we actually only have messaging via text message. So, I’ll be more than happy to share with everyone on the call, I can, we’ll send out an image of an example of a guide builder activity. And you can use that to build and start the discussions around empathy.
Question: Leaders often think that empathy and accountability are on opposing sides. How do you help them realize that they can coexist on the same side?
Answer: So, oftentimes, we talk about accountability in a lot of different ways. First thing I would do is get very clear of how the company is defining accountability. Is accountability responding in a certain way, responding with a certain period of time? So I’ve worked with companies who their response rate had to be so fast that their messaging was so not on point. So, what I would suggest is that I do believe empathy and accountability go hand in hand. I think you can be accountable to your organization, as well as to your customers, but done in a way in which words actually do matter. How you express that you can actually are listening to the customer’s questions, or suggestions or complaints, have a lot to do with whether or not you’re going to have a re retention with your customers. So, understanding where the retention element comes from, and for many customers, it’s emotional. So, accountability, empathy do go hand in hand, and I believe empathy is a way to express accountability, but it can be expressed in such a way that it expresses both cognitive and emotional empathy.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? In 2021, Forbes identified Empathy as the most critical leadership skill in today’s workplace. What question could you ask during an interview to identify an empathetic employee or leader?
Add your thoughts in the comments section below! We’ll answer your questions here and during the live event Q&A.