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3 Tips From The Business World That Work As Relationship Advice, Too

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3 Top Tips From The Business World That Will Help Your Relationship
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Love, Self

So listen up.

There’s that line from a song by Tina Turner: "What's love got to do with it?"

Well, the same could be said for empathy. Empathy has a lot to do with it and a lot to do with love. 

In business, leaders are encouraged to develop their emotional intelligence, often referred to as the soft skills of encouragement and bringing people with you.

Rather than ruling with fear and aggression, leaders are encouraged to listen to their people and, for the most part, allow their employees to do what they are good at instead of getting everyone to do exactly the same thing as everyone else. 

Empathy is one of the key pillars of emotional intelligence mostly described as seeing things from the other person's point of view.

Some would say that in order to be empathic, you need to be in the other person’s shoes. See what they are seeing, hear what they are hearing, and most importantly, feel all the emotions they are feeling.

Sounds a bit soft, doesn’t it? 

Watch Dr. Helen Riess' TED Talk about the power of empathy.

 

The fact is, unless you are a natural empath, empathy can be hard to do, especially if you are male.

Getting in touch with your feelings is something that men, in particular, are trained to hide as they grow up. How many times have you heard or even said, "Grow up and be a man about it!" or just "Man up!"?

Years later, when they are the leader at work, they are expected to get back in touch with those feelings. And not just at work either. Men are also encouraged to tap into their feelings in their relationships, and for some, doing this is very difficult.

 

RELATED: The Science Behind Empathy And Being An Empath

 

So, what can you do about it?

To develop empathy, there are 3 aspects: listening, curiosity, and emotional connection.

Let’s assume a normal experience in most households at the end of the working day. The wife, girlfriend, or partner comes home and announces that they had a terrible day at work. You're not in too much a good mood to hear this but you will anyway and invite the conversation to start.

To learn how to help a relationship in trouble become right again, do the following with the 3 aspects of em:

1. Listen — no, actually listen.

Listening can be tricky because most of the time, the man is doing 2 things while he listens. The first thing he does is to figure out how to fix the problem he's heating about and while he is doing that, the voice in his head is blocking out the voice of his loved one.

In order to truly listen, pay attention to every word being spoken. Easy to say…difficult to do.

2. Ask questions to show you care.

The natural tendency is to blurt out how to fix the problem you've just heard, but that doesn’t show any empathy at all. What you need to develop empathy is to ask questions about what you have just heard.

Nothing huge or deep but the mere act of a few well-placed comments like "That’s interesting…tell me more" or a couple of "What then?" helps the other person feel connected and feel that you care.

 

RELATED: 9 Things The Happiest Couples ALWAYS Talk About

 

3. Repeat back what you partner has shared with you. 

Finally, it’s time to flex your emotional connection and it’s easier than you think if you have listened with curiosity. You paraphrase everything you've just heard and play it back without fixing anything.

This demonstrates, above all else, that your partner has been listened to. Then wrap it all up with, "So…what are you going to do about it?"

Anyone trying this out of the first time may find it very functional but keep at it. In time with will start to feel natural and automatic. That’s when you know you’ve not only developed empathy but also deepened the relationship with your loved one.

Martin Daubney is an international coach, trainer, and facilitator based in Basel, Switzerland specializing in Leadership and Team Development.

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