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Limitless Leadership™: Unwrapping the 3 layers of empathy

two boys showing empahty

3 layers of empathy

Psychologists for many years have identified that there are 3 types of empathy.  There are many ways to feel and there are many ways to experience empathy.

Empathy is all about putting yourself in someone else's shoes and seeing, feeling and experiencing what they are going through from their perspective, especially in a leadership position.  It's not about putting others in their place.

Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives. - Oprah Winfrey Click To Tweet

3 Layers – defined

3 layers of empathy

The three forms of empathy that psychologists have defined are:

  • Cognitive
  • Emotional
  • Compassionate

These make sense when you think about the levels or layers of how we respond and react to what others are experiencing. Empathy is a verb, it’s something we do and we need to take into account the level of empathy we have can be influenced by our own mindset, experience, agenda and intention at that moment.

Cognitive empathy

I look at this layer of empathy as coming from more of a logical angle. It’s all about knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking.

Daniel Goldman refers to this type of empathy as perspective-taking

Thought, understanding and intellect comes into play here and this layer of empathy has a place and is impactful motivating others, negotiations and looking to delve in and understand the viewpoints of others.

As with anything there can be potential pitfalls. When using cognitive empathy ensure you don’t ignore or block out the deeper emotions. When “knowing” how others feel you may not always step into “feeling” what the other person is experiencing. Be mindful of this and never assume. Ask questions, see things from the other persons perspective, feel with their heart and listen through their ears.

Emotional empathy

emotional empathyThis type of empathy is where you literally feel into the other person, you feel their emotions and experience almost as if it was contagious and that of your own.

There is a lot of feeling involved and some people almost feel a physical response or sensation.

Researchers believe there is thing call mirror neurons and these are a type of brain cell that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action. Think of it a bit like when you see someone whacked with a frisbee in a park, we naturally recoil in sympathy or when watching a game of footy, our heart beat increases as your favourite team plays to win.

Use of emotional empathy is brilliant when coaching and when building close relationships. It’s great when leading and managing and as with anything needs to be used in moderation. I naturally lean to this type of empathy and it can be overwhelming and exhausting if you don’t learn to switch it off (when relevant).

 Compassionate Empathy

compassionate emapthyWith this kind of empathy we not only understand a person’s predicament and feel with them, but are spontaneously open to help, if and when needed. Intellect, emotion, and action are the key ingredients to this type of empathy.

What I love about compassionate empathy is that it considers the entire person, the whole person so to speak. This type is the one we should all strive to use and step into as much as we can as it combines a nice balance of both cognitive and emotional empathy.

Remember to gauge the situation and follow your thoughts and your heart as to what type of empathy to use. I strive to use compassionate empathy as much as possible but I also use Cognitive empathy more so when negotiating or motivating. Emotional empathy might be used especially of late when looking after my sister, who is ill.

Each type of empathy has a time and a place and I believe compassionate empathy provides a nice balance of the other 2 types. Click To Tweet

Did you know feelings of the heart and thoughts of the brain are not opposites. They are in fact intricately connected. The reason compassionate empathy is so effective is that it honours that natural connection by considering both the felt senses and intellectual situation of another person.

As always, I’d love to hear what you notice about the 3 types of empathy in your current role?

Lead to be Limitless

If this article has resonated with you in any way – I’d love to hear your thoughts – get in touch. .  Being in service to my clients is why I do what I do and your feedback, insight and any suggestions are always embraced.

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits, so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.

Follow Renee on FacebookInstagramIGTV or Twitter, or s

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Limitless Leadership™: The Gift Mindset™

Just on 10 weeks ago my beautiful sister, who is also my best friend, was diagnosed with advanced localised breast cancer. This has obviously rocked our world, not only as it came out of nowhere, but also because she’s been through so much in her life already.

She is tackling this horrible disease head on.  She is being brave, positive and as resilient as ever and we have every confidence she will beat this. For me, she is, and has always been, the poster child for resilience and kindness.  Because of this, I really believe what she has experienced will set her up to conquer this.

Resilience comes from the Latin word resilire which means to leap back.

It's a trait I’ve always been strong in and I really believe the more you go through both personally and professionally, the stronger you get. The deeper your ability becomes to see the challenging times and people in your life as gifts and to identify and apply the lessons learnt from these to propel you forward.

Receiving this shocking news about my sister, I knew I had to keep going. For her, me and for our family, and for my business and my clients.

I knew that how I was showing up and who I was being had and will have a direct impact on her.

She asked me to go about my life as usual and be as normal as possible.  I managed to do this and compartmentalise my work and my feelings to be in service to the moment. That was until 1.5 weeks later when I was in coaching and mentoring a senior leader I have worked with for many years. Twenty minutes into the session he bought up something I would normally delve into and challenge to get to an outcome. For the first time ever, after coaching thousands of clients, I just couldn't be present and in service.

Resilience Threshold

My mind was struggling to comprehend what he was saying without comparing it to what my sister was going through. I judged and perceived his issue to be trivial in the scheme of things and kindly stood up and explained I would have to postpone the session. This client didn’t know anything about my sister and after asking if I was okay, he walked me out. I sat in my car for about 15 minutes after this happened, shocked I had left and also proud of myself for realising I had hit what I am going to call a “Resilience Threshold”.

Threshold-the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested.

 I realised within a moment I had reached this threshold where I couldn't be in service to my client as this goes against all that I stand for and value in my work.

As much as difficult and challenging situations and people can bring us down, I really believe we need to adopt what I call a “Gift Mindset™”. This mindset helps us to see not only the challenging situations and people as gifts but also the great things and people we encounter as gifts also. Many gifts keep on giving if we can learn the lesson and share this, especially as leaders in our profession and our lives.

By having a deep awareness of what life throws at us and accepting this with true belief I believe we are more open to the lesson and can then share and action this to grow ourselves and others along the way. Click To Tweet

This all adds up to us being able to be limitless in whatever we do.

Keys to a gift mindset:

Awareness

Invest in the time to stop and reflect on what is going on and why. Too often we act as human doings instead of human beings and we need to reflect and recalibrate to really see a situation for what it really is.

It may be a crappy situation you are in or a toxic person is in your space, just remember your thoughts are not you and either is the situation you are in. This is external to you and by being aware of it, warts and all is the first step to identifying past, present, future and hidden gifts. When I had to cancel my client as soon as I was aware I wasn't in service to him, I knew I had to accept this and do something.

Acceptance

By being aware of the current situation and having true belief that you can accept it and move forward you are then in a position to open the space for progress. Accepting something doesn't mean you have to like, want, or support whatever it is that you're accepting . All I will say is that we can create undue suffering when we struggle against the pain — by resisting it and/or rejecting it.

After postponing the coaching session with my client I accepted it was for the best, in that moment of time, for both he and I.

Action

Once we are clearly aware of “the Gift” and have accepted it for what it is we can identify what the lesson may be. I’m a realist and know it’s not always easy to see good in anything when you are in the midst of a crisis or unpleasant situation or experience. The lesson is the gold here.

What have I learnt?

What has changed or is different?

How can I replicate this and share this moving forward for greater good?

In the case of my client story, the lesson for me was I had actually hit a threshold of resilience, something I’ve never consciously experienced before. It taught me that at times I need to have more “attention in” and deeper awareness of my feelings and that by doing this my actions and outcomes will have even more meaning.

This whole experience has taught me the ‘Gift of Resilience”

My client and I chatted the day after and when I told him about the situation he said he had so much respect and admiration for me calling the session off. He also said it was great to see that I am only human and that in itself was another gift for me…the “Gift of Growth!”

As always I would love to hear how you embrace the “Gift Mindset”?

Lead to be Limitless

For more of my tips on how change can equate to growth, get in touch. I look forward to working with you in the future!

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits, so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.

Follow Renee on FacebookInstagramIGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here or new podcast here.

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Limitless Leadership™: Insight 1# – Results are in…How open are you to growth?

Thank you for all your responses to our Limitless Leader ™ Indicator Tool. This tool allows you to see where you sit as a LIMITLESS LEADER™ and how to take your leadership to the next level and be LIMITLESS!

Your responses continue to provide valuable insight into our work, and how we can be in service to you, our amazing clients and collaborate with you on your success.

If you haven't had a chance to do this simply click here 

Over the next few months we will share with you the top line learnings from the survey along with tips and tricks to take your leadership to the next level.

LIMITLESS LEADERSHIP™ Insight 1

Almost 30% of respondents are only a little or somewhat open to growing and being more as a leader – why might this be?  Perhaps it is you don’t see yourself in a leadership position.  Conversely, 87% of respondents think it’s possible to grow learn and evolve as a leader so that’s encouraging!

87 % of respondents believe growth is possible

How open to growth are you?

What do you have in place to make growth possible? Growth is imperative in any role and you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and embrace new learnings.

To lead people you need to minimise the managing of activity, the operational things, and jealously protect your time to develop yourself, your leadership and therefore you team and organisation. You cannot be in service to those around you if you are not adding new value, challenging the status quo and in turn creating future leaders.

 Do you:

  • Know your strengths and areas of development
  • Have a mentor and/or coach
  • Seek feedback from your team, peers and upline
  • Grow your knowledge through networking in and out of your industry
  • Review your habits and what could be getting in the way
  • Jealously protect time to grow and schedule this in
  • Weigh up the cost of NOT developing to you and your team
  • Evaluate your support network

Progressive versus maintenance

Think about the “progressive”” things you do at work versus the “maintenance” type things. I liken it to building a pergola at home to mowing the lawns. The former feels great and is progressive and something you don’t need to do often, the latter is usually pretty non rewarding and has to be done on a regular basis. Look at growing and learning as progressive, focus on the value you can add to your team and the benefits that follow.

What will it cost you and your team NOT to grow, learn and develop?

As always, would love your thoughts……

Renée

For more of my tips on how change can equate to growth, get in touch. I look forward to working with you in the future!

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits, so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’. Follow Renee on Facebook, Instagram, IGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here.

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Limitless Leadership™: Letting go to grow others is your job

delegate delegation manager leaders letting go

Leaders, executives and business owners often talk to me about the common challenges they face; one of the key topics is how to manage delegating (or letting go) effectively.

Why?

  • Fear of tasks not being done correctly,
  • Lack of trust,
  • Guilty of giving others more work, and
  • A lack of awareness of what needs to be delegated

Another reason delegation can be challenging, is when you do not know the strengths and motivators of those around you, and this leaves you feeling unsure of who is capable of taking on the task. Continue reading Limitless Leadership™: Letting go to grow others is your job

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Limitless Leadership™: Build Emotional Intelligence for Limitless Teams

make sure all team members have a voice

A great question and one I am often asked is, “How can I increase the level of Emotional Intelligence or EI in my team?”

Emotional Intelligence is imperative in any role, team and organisation. EI or EQ is simply the ability to recognise one's own emotions and those of others and be able to manage these.

71% of hiring managers now hire for EQ over IQ, so this clearly demonstrates its importance. Click To Tweet

Continue reading Limitless Leadership™: Build Emotional Intelligence for Limitless Teams