Tag Archives: asking questions

Build Empathy into Your Interactions: Part 1 (of 3)

The concept of Empathy is one of the basic components of emotional and social intelligence. It is a critical part of self-awareness, relationships with others, and is key to successful leadership. Empathy is an attribute that consists of three interrelated parts:

  1. understanding another person’s perspective,
  2. considering how that person feels, and
  3. telling the other person you are aware of 1 & 2.

Even for those who excel at this attribute, it is easy to lose sight of empathy in daily interactions. Leaders swim amid a sea of data and emotions, sorting through it all with their own filters and biases. When they are not mindful of empathy, opportunities to build relationships are lost and relationships may even be damaged.

If you build empathy into your interactions, then you will establish trusting relationships.

We have found 2 techniques helpful with empathy:  The Ladder of Inference and Deconstructing Conversations.

(Read how to practice empathy using the Ladder of Inference and Deconstructing Conversations in our April 2015 posts.)

If you build empathy into your interactions, then you will establish trusting relationships.Questions to Deepen Thinking

What will practicing empathy get you?
How are your professional relationships working for you?
What would happen if you built deeper trust into your relationships?

Credit

Goleman, D. (2013, December). The Focused Leader: How Effective Executives Direct their Own – and their Organization’s – Attention. Harvard Business Review.

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Mutual Inquiry: 8 Steps to Deepen & Shift Thinking

Posing questions to deepen thinking is a valuable leadership practice. It is one of the most powerful ways to help others shift their thinking and see new perspectives. It is an art and skill that can be mastered with practice.

If you pose reflective questions and encourage the other person to pause and think before responding, then you will both begin to shift your thinking and uncover new perspectives.

Questions to deepen thinking are not meant to be “asked” and “answered.” They are designed to be “posed” and “responded to.” The dynamic of posing a question that is 1) not leading, diagnostic, or challenging and 2) not required to be answered; leads to deeper thinking, automatically.

Questions to deepen thinking are not meant to be “asked” and “answered.” They are designed to be “posed" and “responded to." The dynamic of posing a question that is 1) not leading, diagnostic, or challenging and 2) not required to be answered; leads to deeper thinking, automatically.
Pose Rather than Ask

“Asking”a question implies that you are requesting information or an answer. “Posing” a question, on the other hand, introduces a thought for consideration.  Derived from the Latin for pause, posing a question sets the tone for introspection and allows the other person to reflect.

Respond Instead of Answer

Think of a response as “thinking out loud.”  A response doesn’t require an answer or a solution. It is simply uttering something in reply as a means to continue the thought process and the conversational exchange.

Questions to Deepen Thinking

  • Have you ever intentionally asked a question that you did not want an answer to?
  • Have you ever resisted the urge to answer a question to allow time for reflecting?
  • When instructed to hold an answer for a period of time, how many times does your response change in your head?

Credits

Block, P. (2008). Community: The structure of belonging. San Francisco: Berrett-KoehlerPublishers, Inc.
Koffman, F. (n.d.). Advocacy and inquiry: Combining the basic steps of the dance of communication. Retrieved from Conscious Business Blog: http://www.axialent.com/uploads/paper/archivo/Advocacy_and_Inquiry_by_Fred_Kofman.pdf

 

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