Each exercise in my seminars teaches a fundamental, useful leadership skill. Collectively, when you practice them more than a few times, they teach empathy and compassion, two critically important skills if you want people to want you to lead them. With my one-on-one coaching clients I can see their empathy and compassion skills develop over weeks and months.
I’ve noticed patterns.
At first people feel odd asking about emotions and passions, especially at work. “Can I use the word passion?,” they ask. “Is it appropriate at work? It will feel funny.” They ask if using someone’s emotions to motivate them is manipulation. They worry about using the other person.
After doing the exercises once or twice, they realize how effectively motivating someone through emotions and passions works. They see the other person come alive and want to work on their task. The person they’re motivatingÂ don’t lookÂ obliged to do something for their job. They seem inspired, as I described in “How inspiration feels, in depth.” They worry less about if they are manipulating or using the other as they see how well it works.
After having the exercises done on them, they sense how emotionally rewarding it feels to share their passions and emotions that led them to work on the project—relief, liberation, inspiration, enthusiasm, fulfillment. They experience that those feelings of emotional reward feel more tangible and meaningful than offers of bonuses or other external motivations. They start wishing their managers managed them that way and the concerns about manipulation and using dissipate as they realize that connecting with people on their passions passes the golden rule of do unto others.
With practice, they feel odd not connecting on passions and emotions. They tell me that once they have the skills, as they interact with someone, they feel it more important to get to know and understand the other person. The more they practice the exercises the easier and more natural it feels to find out more about them. They move from following my scripts to using their language as they understand the principles in the scripts. They look back at the times before as almost painfully superficial. They view leading not on passions as empty, formal, and needlessly distant.
As they make empathy and compassion habits, their relationships’ foundations change from external and based on tools like bonuses, firing, promotions, offers of vacation time, etc to internal and based on helping people with their hopes, dreams, passions, relationships, and so on. Their work and relationships take on more meaning, value, importance, and purpose.
Without me suggesting it, they expand their application of the skills from work to family and friends, enriching their lives and those of people around them.
And the people they lead are more productive, loyal, and enthusiastic.
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