In a previous blog post I talked about Pete, who has recently been made redundant. Pete needs a new job, fast. He took the EQi-2, which is a leading Emotional Intelligence assessment. It’s a great tool and easy to complete. I emailed Pete a link and taking about 20 minutes, he answered the questions online. I generated the report and then we had an in-depth discussion about the results.
The EQi measures our social and emotional abilities, how well we are able to control our emotions, how we read and interact with other people and how we manage stress. Emotionally intelligent people get on well with others, communicate effectively and have good coping strategies. The EQi is a useful tool because it gives extraordinary insight into how we relate to others, understand ourselves and deal with stress. There’s no good or bad or right or wrong. Although we do know that emotionally intelligent people tend to have a smoother path through life and are generally happier.
Pete’s score in Empathy was lower than average. This didn’t come as much of a surprise to him or me. He had totally missed all the signs that redundancy was calling his name and with hindsight he realized that he has, time and time again, misread other people’s feelings and thoughts. Pete finds it difficult to put himself into other people’s shoes. He is a kind person and his colleagues define him as the ‘nice’ guy. The thing that Pete finds difficult is trying to see things from another person’s perspective. When he was made redundant, his first reaction was, “Why me? They always pick on me!”
Pete and I spent a lot of time discussing and understanding the components of empathy. We looked at how empathy differs from sympathy; how sympathy conveys our feelings about another person’s situations and implies we know how the other person feels. Sympathy suggests pity or sorrow for someone else’s feelings. Empathy means that you can actually share the other person’s feelings. We considered lots of techniques for becoming more empathetic.
One of the key techniques is asking plenty of questions, particularly open-ended questions. This was a technique I hoped Pete would put into practice in a job interview he had coming up. Isn’t that the job of the interviewer, you may well be asking? We’ll cover this in a future blog post.