Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership & Team Building Retreats
Emotional Intelligence and Empathy
I recently spoke with the director of human resources at a Silicon Valley company regarding providing executive coaching for their senior leadership team. The director of human resources asked some very insightful questions to determine whether we were a good fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for initiating behavior change. She was very interested in my executive coaching work with helping their senior leadership creating a more empathic organization.
The director of human resources and I spoke about my approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior and specifically empathy are important leadership competencies. We also spoke of the need for her organization to work with a management consultant to help their company create a culture where creativity and innovation thrives.
The director of human resources is interested in partnering with me in helping their leaders become more emotionally intelligent and empathic. We further discussed how other company executives could benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach.
The more an organization can understand and empathize with the key motivators of their employees and customers, the more likely that organization will have sustainable success. ~ Chip Conley, author of Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow
In an uncertain economy, empathy may seem like a soft business skill. It can, however, serve as a catalyst for new growth, innovation and employee engagement, all of which drive profits and long-term results.
The more an organization demonstrates care for its customers and employees, the greater the potential for uninterrupted growth, higher profits, improved products and happier employees. Empathy may, in fact, be the most underappreciated and overlooked strategic business tactic.
“Companies prosper when they tap into a power that every one of us already has—the ability to reach outside of ourselves and connect with other people,” writes Stanford University Adjunct Professor Dev Patnaik in Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy.
Inside the Empathic Organization
Professor Patnaik has created the term “Open Empathy Organizations” for those that encourage employees to focus on empathy as part of the company mission. Success requires employees at all levels to be genuinely interested in other people, and there must be multiple ways for them to interact.
Open Empathy Organizations also provide ways for employees to buy and use the company’s products and services. Netflix gives DVD players and free subscriptions to employees, who can learn firsthand how customers experience the company.
Similarly, gardening giant Smith & Hawken boasts a large garden at its company headquarters. Leaders encourage employees to plant and tend to crops, while familiarizing themselves with the company’s products. At such empathic companies, employees begin to understand how their work plays a positive role in their customers’ lives. Staffers become more attached to the results they see at work.
Employees perform at optimum levels when they know they make a difference. When they are encouraged to demonstrate care for customers, they become more engaged and energized.
Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders become more empathic? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to learn how to develop more empathy? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.
One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a leader who models empathy?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders increase empathy in their organization.
Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders build high performance organizations where empathy in business is a virtue. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.
About Dr. Maynard Brusman
Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, an executive coaching and leadership development firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.