MEASURE EMPATHY AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Creating personal attributes for success
How we interact with each other can often be the difference between success and failure.
Satisfaction is important no matter the value, quality and intention of the personal interaction.
People and companies struggle to measure social interactions. The measures often fail to identify the difference between intended noise and signal of human interaction.
The range of cultures across the world contributes to a complex puzzle of successful human relationships and acceptable behavior. For instance, the perceived rudeness of a German may be acceptable locally.
How do you measure your levels of service success for people management and relationships for your business?
Day to day human interactions
The amount of time and effort to create optimal marketing slogan or creating the perfect lighting conditions for a private meeting requires intimate knowledge. These details can become lost and confused when they interact with other specialist areas. The needs of the chef may conflict with the needs of the waitress and the needs of the owner. Yet they must work together in intimate daily interactions for a successful business.
In a competitive environment, the companies seeking the most cost savings in front line service levels often suffer the most.
This is seen by poorly motivated staff with low engagement levels, and poor skills from lack of training. This cocktail of poor judgement spills over to customers leaving a business with a sense of disappointment.
To avoid poor service levels, we see the strict policies of written procedures. The introduced procedures come with the intent to bring company and brand loyalty. Yet, these procedures can result in poor delivered actions and poor service questions with no enthusiasm. The result is a lost feeling of empathy with the people.
Have you experienced an employee that simply performs a task and leaves a client feeling a sensation of “cold, professional” service that lacks the personal touch? In today’s world, with smartphone apps, websites and click and pay services, there remains a new opportunity.
How you and your business chooses to respond to someone having a bad day or running into the office wet from rain is a platform for high growth, profit and brand advocates.
People are not labels, they are most special than that. They are like you. Each person is unique and has their own story to be told and still to be made.
The way we interact with our fellow citizens of this planet can cover anger, passion, care, avoidance, love, laughter, respect, awe and many other interaction types and levels.
It comes down as much too how we enter this interaction as the response we generate. We love to be recognized as individuals. Most cultures appreciate eye contact, being actively listened to and personalized consideration for comfort.
With almost 7 billion people on the planet, we are unlikely to have 100% success through our lives with positive social and business interactions. Yet we are 100% in control of the way we respond to these interactions. You can do this through consistent personal and business brand values and behaviors.
Connecting and sharing
When a service is automated and easy, it is often perceived as a commodity. This is why the importance of understanding social interactions and empathy is so important for career progression, relationships and business. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard salesman say “people buy from people. It is about relationships”. Although this is partly true, you can still lose a sale during a period of time when the relationship is valued less by the buyer. This is especially true in business to business sales.
There are many companies that have long term customers. Their performance is solid and service levels friendly and welcoming, but after a while they may neglect to understand the changing needs of their clients.
The market may change and offer new alternatives that increases the desires and expectations of their once loyal customers.
The best experiences come from that personal and human connection. When we have a positive personal story to tell, we are will to express this and share it with others. This is the difference and standard marker for a business leader.
That person you call a client or customer, wants to understand on a personal level, what will you do with their money? How have you made and effort to understand and be understood? Relationships offer vitality, honesty, fun, support, stability and comfort. If you and your business offer that consistently then you will have a loyal client base. Do not rely just on the system and process for perfection. The personal elements of business service and social interactions are of equal importance.
A key solution is to understand empathy and emotional intelligence.
What is empathy and emotional intelligence?
· Empathy is often defined as the skill to understand and share another’s state of mind or emotion. We often are asked to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” to gain an insight to their perspective in a situation or challenge.
· Emotional intelligence involves the ability and skill to identify, assess and manage the emotions of groups, others or oneself.
With such definitions we are faced with a huge hurdle to overcome. 1) How can we measure empathy and emotional intelligence? 2) How do the people we interact with us measure it?
To develop answers and solve this metric challenge we can break empathy down into key areas for review.
The leader of a team understands that the overall performance of the team is dependent upon the success and motivation of each member. Therefore a lot of time needs to be spent to understand and learn about the emotional conditions and conditioning of each member.
On a climbing expedition you share the same space with other members on a 24 hour basis. Understanding each person’s mood cycles and needs is important for the team success. Often it is not the fittest or most technical capable person that leads a success team. Instead a person that can get the peak performance and shared enjoyment from the whole team is often the leader. This is developed from understanding 3 main areas.
Compassionate empathy – Our willingness to help others deal with their challenges, joys and emotions.
Cognitive empathy – Our ability to recognize other people’s feelings, even if we do not share the same triggers or emotional range.
Emotional empathy – Our ability to align our emotional state so we share as close as possible the emotions someone else is feeling.
Your goal in increasing empathy amongst others is to adopt a willingness to seek discussion and understanding.
This should be done in a manner that respects each person’s values and dignity whilst avoiding a self or inflicted humiliation. A simple step guide will help frame these concepts.
1) The person makes and creates their choices and actions. We cannot enforce them on them.
2) You can change environments, information provided and many other tangible variables but in the end, you cannot change others – this must be their choice.
3) There is self-accountability and responsibility to how we personally choose to respond and react to circumstances.
Here are the measurable variables to monitor empathy:
Adoption of the appropriate body language
How have you validate the person’s emotional state
A calibration of your neutral state (not personally self-affected or biased)
Treat each person with mutual respect and without pre judgement.
Understand the difference between root cause and symptoms by seeking the story of the situation in context of the other person.
(SEC – Smile, Engagement, Connect) Smile with the person, engage with them with interest and make a connection on an emotional level with the person you are talking to.
To understand how to create your own measurement system for empathy read this article.
To help generate consistency for customer service staff, the use of empathy statements has a place to act as a reminder of the business values and principles in this area.
Here are some examples you can use:-
· I am sorry you have had such a bad experience with (Name the service/product/time). I am here to try and to help you.
· What has happened to you is not acceptable or normal to our normal standards. Let me talk to a supervisor to understand exactly what we can do for you in this situation
The most important part of empathy is to remain authentic with your reaction and response.
Integrating Emotional Intelligence for Success
Emotional intelligence is a wide area of research, measurement and ongoing development. It can is a term interchanged with emotional quotient and can be found under the acronyms EI and EQ. The respected and leading expert Daniel Goleman indicated that emotional intelligence accounts for 67% of the abilities found in successful performance leaders and weighed twice as high as a technical skill and general IQ.
There remains on-going debate about the level of significance of emotional intelligence. So EI metrics needs to place into context with the business and personal needs. The main areas emotional intelligence covers include.
Social Skills – The knowledge of how to manage relationships to trigger people into a desired direction.
Self-awareness – The knowledge and ability to understand the strengths, drives, values, goals and emotions of oneself. The skill is to respect and recognize how these personal attributes impact others.
Empathy – See above
Self-Regulation – Our adaptability to changing circumstances and understanding how we can control and steer our emotional impulse reactions to events and information.
Motivation – Understanding our ability to pursue a goal or aim for the sake of achievement.
The measures of emotional intelligence depend on the quality and robustness of the test design. We find there is also a misunderstanding between the different psychological tests on the market. The key differences are to understand personality, emotional and behavior skills.
Through the implementation of empathy and emotional intelligence measures, you can create new standards of consistency and excellence for your business. This translates to loyal customers and engagement employees. In addition to these direct benefits, a business gains improved insights to colleague interactions, and improved leadership capabilities.
EI and EQ By Numbers
In an article by Mark Polam published by completeintelligence.com, the following direct bottom line benefits were found after fortune 500 companies’ implemented EI improvements.
· A Dallas business discovered that staff with high EI were 20 times more productive
· 1 business improved its staff retention by 67% and saved $30 million
· A car dealership introduced EI within recruitment processes and reached a Top10 position in sales and customer satisfaction
There are many various tools to explore and help your knowledge acquisition with emotional intelligence. JAMSO has curated over 80 reference ideas, videos, infographics and articles available to you and your business via our Pinterest board.
Question for the Reader: How do you think your business could benefit from improved training in empathy and emotional intelligence?
Thoughts about empathy and emotional intelligence
Our lives are mostly made from personal relationship memories. The moments we share that bring help at times of need and laughter when we are seeking happiness. The trends and time spent today online with devices and rapid self-service systems from shopping to flight purchases means the opportunity to make a personal impression at a human level is reduced. The power of these interactions however is measurable and beneficial for both supplier to business and through to the customer.
We all have a favorite purchase of some service or product that we are prepared to pay that little extra or be slightly more forgiving when an error is made, simply because the business understands are needs and places them at the highest priority when it matters the most.
The future will see an increase in ever more intelligence systems, platforms and predictive behavior support systems via artificial intelligence, machine learning and the use of big data analytics and robo-advisors.
There will always however be an opportunity to stand out from the crowd by making full use of this technology to provide leading services and products supported and backed by an equally sensitive and caring business. How you implement, measure and manage these aspects may just transform your business.
Please send this article to any business leader you think could benefit from the discussion of improving “soft skills” performance for the benefit of your market.
JAMSO helps people and business improve their performance. We are experts in goal setting, goal management, metrics, key performance indicators and performance management.
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Written by James Doyle, founder of JAMSO. We have over 200 free articles, tools and resources for your success.