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                   Empathy, Emotional Intelligence, and Connection
“An analysis of the personality traits that accompany high IQ in men who lack these
emotional competencies portrays, well, the stereotypical nerd: critical and condescending, inhibited and uncomfortable with sensuality, emotionally bland. By contrast, men with the
traits that mark emotional intelligence are poised and outgoing, committed to people and causes, sympathetic and caring, with a rich but appropriate emotional life - they’re comfortable with themselves, others, and the social universe they live in.” (Goleman, 2005)
Leaders face many challenges, issues, and situations that are often easier talked about than actioned in their daily lives. Of these, the most difficult is the ability to connect with another human being. Whether they are older, younger, wiser, or stronger, the fact remains that there is a distinction on how individuals connect. While not everyone can be or knows how to be empathetic, leaders must display empathy and emotional intelligence to communicate with others in the organization. Empathy assists with motivation. A better understanding of the four components of emotional intelligence will further break down why leaders need to know and digest them all.
When considering the term connection, I like to refer to Webster’s dictionary and the definition given from the Master Resiliency lesson plan. The MRT definition states:
“You can be a more effective Soldier by building strong relationships and by being willing to give and receive help because accomplishing a mission requires teamwork and deep trust of your fellow Soldiers.”
1SG LaShelle Webb
By understanding this definition, leaders and subordinates can create the foundation needed
to be successful, regardless of the situation or
the organization’s given mission or status. I currently feel that leaders are missing the basics where building teams and grooming subordinates are concerned. While the connection between individuals is the foundation, empathy and emotional intelligence are the screws and bolts that will assist in holding the house upright.
I was raised in the military to care for others and their belongings as if they were my very own.
I know not many of my peers have had that same kind of upbringing, which is okay. As a result of having those leaders, very early in my military career, I have been able to get a decent grasp on empathy as it relates to the mission, the Soldiers, and their Families over time. Empathy is the
ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes
and to truly understand what they may be going through at a certain point and time. (Landry, 2019) Unfortunately, many tend to mistake empathy for sympathy, but they are different in more ways than one.
Many times throughout my career, I have had some leaders mistake empathy for being “too soft” or being substandard when that is not the case.
As leaders, we must know our jobs inside and out. People are our jobs as leaders. We must connect with our Soldiers, peers, and other leaders many times throughout our careers. This means we have to connect on many levels. Leaders must find out what motivates their subordinates, peers, and other leaders within the organization to connect. I say organization because too often, leaders get so
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