Leadership Mindset Shift #3: Empathy Starts With Meeting People Where They Are

Posted on March 1, 2023 by Nate Regier / 0 comments
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Research shows that empathy in the workplace is positively related to job performance. Leaders who practice empathetic leadership toward direct reports are viewed as better performers in their job by their bosses, and achieve better performance from their employees. Empathy is a foundational leadership competency to build a safe workplace culture and more trusting relationships. 

If you surveyed the leaders in your organization, how would they answer these questions?

Have you ever;

  • Understood the words someone was saying, but were unsure of what they really meant?
  • Naturally connected with some people, but not with others?
  • Been accused of not “hearing” someone even though you were listening?
  • Wished you could communicate so that more people would really understand what you are saying?
  • Been told you lacked empathy?

How well do your leaders listen? Are they struggling to create a safe space where people feel heard? Can they relate to others from their point of view? Are they aware of how their behavior affects others? 

Shifting your leadership mindset about empathy can make all the difference. Here is the third of eight mindset shifts that can transform a leader’s effectiveness.

Leadership Mindset Shift #3

Empathy starts with meeting people where they are.

The Process Communication Model® identifies six distinct personality types that we all have in us. Each Personality Type has a unique perceptual filter that colors how we experience our environment and situations, and how we communicate with others. These perceptual filters are detectable by watching how people communicate. PCM teaches leaders how to do this.

Each person has one primary perceptual filter. However, anyone can all learn to recognize and appreciate all six, and use this to build their empathy skills.

Six Perceptual Filters, Six Ways People Experience and Interact With The World

Emotions: The default tendency of this perception is to affirm and nurture others and build relationships with a personal touch. Typical words and phrases include: “I feel…” “I’m comfortable with…” “I care…” “…happy” “…sad” “I love…” “…close” 

Thoughts: The default tendency of this perception is to ask questions about data and time frames and provide the same to others. Typical words and phrases include: “I think…” “What options…” “Does that mean…” “Who…” “What…” “When…” “Where…” “…facts” “…information” “Data” “Time frames”

Reactions: The default tendency of this perception is to make it fun, challenge the status quo, and express freely. Typical words and phrases include: “Wow…” “I like…” “I don’t like [hate]…” “I want…” “I don’t want…” “That’s awesome!” [fun, slang phrases, casual language].

Inactions: The default tendency of this perception is to pause, reflect, and explore the possibilities before responding. Typical words and phrases include: “I imagine…” “I picture…” “Reflecting…” “Musing…”

Opinions: The default tendency of this perception is to share opinions and values and to ask the same from others. Typical words and phrases include: “In my opinion…” “I believe…” “We should/must…” “…respect” “…values” “…admiration” “…commitment” “…dedication” “…trust”

Actions: The default tendency of this Perception is to take action or direct others into action. Typical words and phrases include: “Bottom line…” “…best shot” “…make it happen” “Go for it…” “Enough talk, action!”

Meeting People Where They Are

Since communication is less about what you say, and more about how you say it, anyone can adapt HOW they communicate their message to match other people’s perception, which demonstrates that you respect and value them for who they are. It also greatly increases the chance that others will respond positively to what you say.

To effectively communicate, we must realize we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

– Anthony Robbins

Imagine the possibilities if you applied the PCM tool of Perceptions to tailor your communication strategies: emails, memos, organization-wide communications, customer service, even crisis response strategies.

Shift Your Mindset To Become A Better Leader

Learning how to utilize Perceptions to improve empathy, trust, and connection is the focus of one of the eight modules in the PCM Leadership Program. In this module, leaders will learn how to:

  • Assess their own communication style.
  • Assess the communication preferences of those around them.
  • Develop more empathy, trust and connection.
  • Improve in-person and virtual communication skills.
  • Improve the reach and impact of organizational communication strategies

Contact us today to find out more about how PCM helps leaders recognize and maximize the critical intersection between communication and personality.

Why Choose the PCM Leadership Program?

People skills are the primary leadership differentiator: being able to connect, engage, resolve conflict with and motivate anyone are essential leadership skills. Today’s leaders must cultivate their self-awareness and agility to be successful in a highly diverse, global and virtual environment. 

The PCM Leadership Program is a collection of learning & application modules that apply Process Communication Model to solve the most common and important leadership challenges. 

Senior leaders will gain a greater understanding of how their own personality impacts their role and performance as a leader, how to adapt communication and motivation strategies to maximize the contribution of all personality types in the workplace, and how personality differences are best managed from a strategic level. 

Newly promoted and mid-level leaders will learn and apply critical social-emotional and communication competencies to improve their effectiveness in a wide range of leadership challenges such as communicating for greater impact, managing and motivating performance, dealing with miscommunication and conflict, building trust and engagement, and self-care.

We can help you assess your leadership development needs and design just the right program for your goals. Contact us today.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2023

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