In our last post we looked at the concept of empathy and why it is important for leaders. In part 2 of our empathy series, we will share the first of 2 ways to structure empathy into your interactions.
The Ladder of Inference is a useful tool for practicing empathy and inviting the other person to be empathetic. How does it work? Start at the bottom of the ladder with data. Get all the facts out on the table. As you proceed up the ladder, follow the script as you share your perspectives and feelings. Encourage the other person to do the same. As the conversation emerges and you reach agreement after each step, both of you will understand each other’s perspective. Before taking action, set aside time to deconstruct the conversation.
If you invite empathy into your interactions, then you and the other person will understand where each other is coming from.
Follow the script in the Infographic to build empathy into your conversations:
Questions to Deepen Thinking
What will making a conscious effort to understand another person’s perspective get you?
How is ensuring the other person knows your perspectives working for you?
What would happen if you set aside time for you and the other person to “think about it” before taking action?
Argyris, C. (1982). Reasoning, Learning, and Action: Individual and Organizational (1st ed. ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc. Pub.
Senge, P. Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Smith, B. (1994). The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. Strategies and Tools For Building a Learning Organization. NY: Doubleday.
- Build Empathy into Your Interactions Part 1
- Build Empathy into Your Interactions Part 3. Deconstruct Your Conversations
- Thinking Partners: A Concept and a Compact
- The DOs & DON’Ts of Curious Listening: Tell Me More