Category Archives: Empathy

5 Ways Your Brain Is Tricking You into Being Miserable


Everyone wants to be happy, but the biggest obstacle to that is the mushy thing inside your skull that you think with.

Source: www.cracked.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The brain is designed to put more weight on negative thoughts than on positive ones. This imbalance takes us away from experiencing positive emotions such as joy, gratitude or hope.

Having positive emotions helps us become relaxed, playful and learn new skills more easily.

However, it is important to have a certain amount of negative emotions to be able to be creative and resilient.

 

Related references:

Perception and Behavior: How To Stimulate Creativity

 Updated Thinking on Positivity Ratios Barbara L. Fredrickson

 

 

 

 

 

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

The Chemistry of Positive Social Interactions In Leadership


 

 

 

 

 

Oxytocin has been described as the molecule of social connection associated with positive traits like trust, cooperation, and empathy.

Judith and Richard Glaser published an article in HBR on the results of a study that analyzed the hormonal response of positive and negative behaviors in managers. Source: blogs.hbr.org

Oxytocin is the hormone that we produce when we feel good during a conversation like positive feedback. Cortisol is the hormone of stress produced when we have fear of being criticized or rejected.

Cortisol stays much longer in the blood than oxytocin that is why we remember more negative comments than positive ones.

So the article suggests to be mindful of the behaviors that open us up, and those that close us down, in our relationships:

Behaviors that send positive messages:

  • Concern for others
  • Curiosity
  • Paint picture of mutual success
  • Open to difficult conversation

Behaviors that send negative messages:

  • Don’t trust others
  • Focus on convincing others
  • Pretend to be listening

Separately  I found other interesting studies showing that oxytocin levels increased in dog owners and their dogs after physical contact: Psychosocial and Psychophysiological Effects of Human-Animal Interactions: The Possible Role of Oxytocin

There is also evidences that oxytocin doesn’t make people more moral or immoral. It shifts people’s focus from themselves to their group or tribe . As a consequence, people may also exhibit more racism and intercultural or inter group clashes when those behaviors favor the group interests (Carsten de Dreu: Does the ‘love hormone’ foster racism? ).

“When you give preferential treatment to your in-group as ethnocentrism, you implicitly indirectly discriminate against people who do not belong to your in-group. And they feel that, they feel resentment, they may protest, so indirectly, it could be that oxytocin contributes to inter-group tensions” Carsten de Dreu

What oxytocin does is that once you see people as [belonging to your] in-group, you come to like them even more. Oxytocin doesn’t make you a racist; it makes you like and commit to your in-group.

Expat Life: Culture Shock May Be Inevitable But Pain Is Optional


cultureshock

At one point or another new expats will get a “lecture” about “Culture Shock” as it is explained in this video:

Not every expats experience that sequence of emotional reactions and saying this is “normal” is not removing the pain or discomfort. Often people who do not experience this “one size fits all” approach may feel “abnormal” or less competent than typical expats and sometimes think they are a failure not able to cope with their struggles while living abroad.

It is important to acknowledge first the feelings without judgement and then look at individual best coping strategies. You can’t change things you have no control about but you can change the way you think and from a new perspective make necessary changes to get the most of your expatriation.

Sometimes friends are not enough and it is important to allow yourself to find professional help.

If you need someone to deeply listen to you and help you solve issues you have as an expatriate, Please Send Me Your Message  for a complimentary coaching session

Related articles: 

Dealing with Difficult People: The Know-It-All


Got a know-it-all in your life who knows everything except, perhaps, how to act like a real human being? Read on for tips on how to deal.

According to the author of this article, Susan Davis, the Know It All (KIAs) are part of the most difficult people in the world to deal with, along with :

*The bullies

*The stealth destroyers

*The “yes” people

**The complainers

*The martyrs

There are KIAs everywhere but it is particularly annoying when this type of person is your boss, employee or co-worker.

So what can you do when you are engaged in a dead-end conversation with a KIA or worse with a clique of KIAs?

No matter what you say, those people will never be interested in your ideas if they don’t think like you. They usually use criticism, condescending or sarcastic tone and even try to intimidate you.

KIA people lack basic emotional intelligence and are self-defensive trying to exclude anybody who are not admiring their intelligence or agree with their truth or faith.

As much as possible  stay calm and relaxed not trying to argue at all. You will always lose if you try to battle with their ego. In addition, it is not good for your heart and well-being as you may feel frustrated and angry.

In case having a conversation is unavoidable, then ask the KIA person questions about their field of expertise  they will be more than happy to teach you something.

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Related Article : The 5 Signs of a Bad Leader

 

Is Empathy Bad For CEOs ? The Psychopath Advantage


jack-nicholson-the-shining-1

When I read this article, questioning the value of empathy for good leadership, I thought it was good food for thought as it is challenging the status quo. Nowadays it is almost considered blasphemy to dismiss empathy and other “people skills” as good CEOs’ personality traits

According to Brad Stone, a journalist and author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon Amazon is very prosperous despite the fact that its CEO, Jeff Bezos, lacks empathy and as a result, treats workers as expendable resources without taking into account their contributions.

It seems that some successful CEOs not only have no empathy but sometimes have many traits shared by psychopaths according to a Forbes’ article focused on the research of British journalist Jon Ronson Why (some) psychopaths make great CEOs

Psychopaths lack the things that make you human: empathy, remorse, loving kindness. According to Ronson, the incidence of psychopathy among CEOs is four times what it is in the general population.

study, conducted by the New York psychologist Paul Babiak, suggests that psychopaths are actually poor managerial performers but are adept at climbing the corporate ladder because they can cover up their weaknesses by subtly charming superiors and subordinates. This makes it almost impossible to distinguish between a genuinely talented team leader and a psychopath, Babiak said.

Where greed is considered good and profit-making is the most important value, psychopaths can thrive. (Quote from TIME.Com)

Regarding lack of empathy as a weakness, the argument seems logic when there is job scarcity during an economic crisis and when the CEO’s main job is to do massive layoffs and cut expenses to maximize shareholder value. 

But how about companies that need to innovate to strive, don’t they need collaborative leadership and therefore need bosses who have empathy ?

Considering Steve Jobs or Jack Welch, known for not being especially empathetic,  it seems that empathy is not mandatory to be a successful CEO even in innovation-driven companies.

In conclusion, I think empathy may not be necessary only when leaders have to manage-up with little interactions with people who do the jobs dealing with customers on a daily basis, especially when the impact of the employees cannot be seen immediately on the bottom line. I do think that disengaged and threatened employees cost more in the long run even without considering lawsuits.

What Is your Experience ?

How Did You Manage A Boss Who Lacked Empathy ?

Related articles:

Conversation Killers : What Do You Do ? Where Do You Come From ?


FACE-CONFUSED-EXPRESSION

Picture: Huffington Post : Want To Kill A Conversation? Ask Someone What They Do

Imagine , you are at a networking event and you are new in town or never met anybody in the group before, you have butterflies in your stomach, when someone comes to you and ask :

What do you do ?  Like most people you might feel embarrassed to answer such a direct question, especially when you don’t have a “job”.

Is what someone does the most important information you need to engage a conversation anyway ?

Same apply to  ‘Where do you come from? ” If you want to avoid being stereotyped, what would you answer?

Tips: Try to answer and give information about you that encourage the other person to share their personal interests .

So here what works for me:

What Do You Do? I love living abroad, meet people from different backgrounds, explore new food, discover natural wonders, learning new stuff like languages. How about you ? What do you love to do when you are not at work?

Where Do You Come From? I am not sure if where I am from defines me anymore as I spent most of my adult life living abroad, I get inspired by my French mom for cooking dishes with a Provencal flavor like “ratatouille” but would die for having authentic “zaru soba”. I really like cosmopolitan urban style of living like I had in New York, or Tokyo and now in Moscow. How about you? What are your favorite places for vacation?

If you are like most people,  you probably have fears and anxiety to engage a conversation with people you don’t know, so:

How do you feel when you get those questions ?

In addition if you are an expat “trailing” spouse like me and freshly arrived in a  city or country you may be even more uncomfortable to answer as nobody is really interested by what you are really doing : unpacking cartons, helping children adjust to their new school or being lost in translation at the supermarket. On top, you might experience the emotional struggles of the “culture Shock”.

What are your typical answers ?

What are the most embarrassing questions you ever got at a networking event ?

Related articles:

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