LOVE: a four letter word that holds so much strength.
When I am coaching business leaders and they take our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Assessment and score low in Empathy, I can be very certain that their department or company needs coaching. Of course, the leader needs coaching, too, but their staff usually feel disrespected, unheard and undervalued, and that can lead to a loss of productivity and subsequently money. This valuable insight is why these assessments offer companies such helpful information. Increasingly, research is showing how Emotional Intelligence is far more important in leaders than cognitive intelligence. In fact, EQ it’s a key component of effective leadership and of life in general!
The ability to be perceptively in tune with yourself and your emotions, as well as having sound situational awareness, can be a powerful tool for leading a team. Emotional Intelligence is described as the act of knowing, understanding and responding to emotions, the ability to overcome stress when it appears, and being aware of how your words and actions affect others. These qualities translate into “love of self and love of others.” So, let’s be exemplary leaders by showing and sharing “THE LOVE.”
The biggest influence you can have on someone is to really listen and learn as much as you can about the person and the situation they are facing. As a leader and a coach, you need to “diagnose” the feelings and the “data” to make a helpful recommendation.
About a year ago, I took a Franklin Covey training seminar about empathy. They taught us the following scenario that illustrates how empathy works- “Your doctor enters the examining room and gives you a quick exam. You have questions, but feel rushed as you ask them. The doctor gives a quick diagnosis and writes you a prescription.
But what if your doctor enters the examining room and sits down, listening carefully as you describe your symptoms? She gives you a thorough examination, and then asks more questions to make sure she understands. Working with you, she arrives at a diagnosis and writes a prescription.”
How would you feel about that doctor? Would you want a doctor who truly listens and is genuinely interested in what you have to say? Absolutely! The same applies to leaders.
Empathy is a critical component for anyone who is working with customers and people. John Maxwell said it best-“Leaders listen, learn and then lead.” This demonstrates LOVE in the greatest form. Romantic love notwithstanding, love in families and in work environments is shown by demonstrating empathy, listening, and spending quality time making someone feel important.
When I look back on past supervisors, the ones I liked and respected the most were those who demonstrated these types of qualities. I’m reminded of a woman who developed cancer while working on our team, and the big boss was so compassionate towards her, allowing her flexibility for medical appointments, leaving early on certain days, communicating with her husband for support, and reminding us to show utmost respect and limit the amount of contact we had with her to allow her more peace in her office. This Man truly demonstrated what it means to be a “GOOD LOVER” at work. (Now, I don’t know if his wife would agree, but then I wasn’t about to ask!)
Humans are wired for empathy from a very early age by relating to people, and building connections to survive in the world. Just like a baby needs a parent who can be empathic and understanding in order to anticipate the baby’s needs for growth, so do employees need empathy and understanding in order to feel valued and motivated to do the best for their team.
Here are 3 some specific ways to empower and show LOVE towards your employees, co-workers, spouses and teams.
So, to make sure you are being a “GOOD LOVER” and a Good Leader, implement these three things today and see if February brings you more joy as a result of YOU being and showing “LOVE” towards others!