Cognitive is about perspective, knowing what another person is feeling or thinking. It lacks the emotional component of the other two types and so is easier for us rational humans to understand and use. Emotional empathy goes a layer deeper and is that sense you have about feeling someone’s pain or suffering. It’s the feeling you get when you see the advertising for starving children or displaced persons, then you go on with your normal activities.
The final layer is Compassionate empathy, where we not only feel the pain, but are compelled to act upon it. Mother Teresa is a model we could use to demonstrate the extreme of compassionate empathy.
Look around you these days and what you see is a whole lot of self-interest, a zero-sum attitude, in order for me to win you must lose. Empathy is the tool you can use to escape this destructive cycle and create a space for abundance.
So, in business, which of these empathy models do we want to employ? To steal a phrase from “A League of Their Own” and mangle it: “There’s no crying in business”.
When preparing for a meeting or negotiation, employing Cognitive Empathy will allow you to explore the thoughts, constraints and motivations of the other person. Ask yourself and your team questions such as:
- What constitutes success from the customer’s perspective?
- Who do they need to influence to get a decision made?
- How can you empower them in a way that creates value for them with little or no cost to you?
This is a different way of thinking, so you may need some help along the way. At PANOPTIKA we have the experience and the frameworks to help you and your team develop these skills and create more wins.
We feel for you!
I’m Steve Willson and I’m one of the partners in PANOPTIKA. We help clients to see everything and make better decisions. You can also connect with us on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn and on Fridays we share news you can use with our community.