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February 3, 2010

Filed under: Management — admin @ 6:29 pm

Sometimes a topic comes up so often during the course of the day that you can’t ignore it.

The word for today was ’empathy’ and it followed me around like a lost puppy.

First was a link from the ‘Greater Good’ online magazine at University of California, Berkeley, asking if I wanted to take a quiz testing my Social Intelligence which is really a measure of empathetic response. I’ve taken the quiz before but encourage you to give it a try.

Then, a photographer friend asked me about Emotional Intelligence, which became a brief discourse in empathy and how it was crtical in most managerial situations. Emotional Intelligence is a key part of my coaching practice, although it involves much more than just empathy.

I was reading a Harvard Business Review article on change management and ‘bouncing back’ from crisis situations and the author pointed to empathy as a skill to be developed by a coach helping managers dealing with change.

Finally Arianna Huffington picked her book of the month, “The Empathetic Civilization” by Jeremy Rifkin which basically tells the evolution of modern society through the lens of human empathy. O.k. so that’s a simplification of 700 pages but it strikes me a bit like the old saying “if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Granted I should wait until I’ve read the book, so I’ll withold further comment.

But I would certainly admit that empathy is an undervalued quality in managerial circles and I’m certainly glad it got some play for at least one day.

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