Paul, a 39-year old Software Engineer is brilliant in what he does best: designing complex systems architecture. At a recent annual review, he wasn't entirely surprised to learn that his critique included a recommendation to learn how to get along better with his team and his superiors. Nonetheless, he came away from the review, defeated and disappointed in himself. He had truly tried, but felt frustrated at a lack of truly understanding what was expected of him, and how to go about it.  His inability to "connect" with others is leading to a quick decline in what he felt was an impressive ascent in a stellar career.

During our work together, Paul discovered that he was lacking a vital component to social intelligence: empathy for the other person's viewpoint. 

Keep reading below to learn how, through our work together, Paul was able to create more rewarding relationships, both personally and professionally, through our focus on his Social Intelligence - and move into a managerial role that he was seeking.


Self-Awareness and Self-Management has to do primarily with the relationship we have with ourselves. Next, in developing our Social Intelligence, we bring what we've learned into our relationship with others.
Below are the last two (social-related) components EI:
  1. Social Awareness
  2. Relationship Management



It cannot be understated: Mastering empathy is one of the most critical abilities you can possess when in a relationship with others, personal or professional. For most people such as Paul (above) he'd felt that he didn't need to empathetic; if he was performing his job, then why did he have to be concerned with relationships?  And, his  if push came to shove, what did empathy actually mean anyway?

Empathy is important - in every relationship. The ability to read another person's emotional cues, to understand their viewpoint and perspective fosters good communication and the ability to be of influence to them; something we want in all relationships.

It's normal of course, to be self-oriented and to think (or at least hope!) that others think and act the way we do, but this isn't the case, or course and it's conducive to satisfying relationships. If you have found this is an issue for you, there may be factors, as with Paul, that are keeping you from being more empathic, including:
  • Being self-centered
  • Having a poor recognition of your own, and others, emotional boundaries
  • Non-active listening
  • Have a results orientation
For Paul, after deep introspection and a great deal of work becoming self-aware, he discovered that, in fact, he felt his high level of intelligence was all that was needed for him to succeed. His persona repelled others rather than drawing them near.

Active listening is different than simply listening. Therapists are trained in active listening techniques and we practice is quite extensively throughout our training. However, it's a skill that you can master. There are five behaviors associated with active listening:
  • Displaying 100% focus on what the other person is saying
  • Showing that you are listening; sometimes this is a nod; certainly eye contact
  • Never interrupting the person to whom you're speaking
For Paul, mastering active listening was critical. He was surprised that he didn't come across as listening as, like most of us, when engaged in conversation, he was thinking of how to respond, what to say next, etc. This is normal and very common, but to truly be engaged, we must listen fully and completely.



Managing your relationships is key allow you to influence others, Each of us do this on a daily basis, whether we're part of a team working on a project, a manager with employees or a sole business owner with clients. We're consistently working to influence others.  There are steps to the process that are quite simple and easy to remember:
  • Determine your objective with the communication that we're undertaking; what is our end goal?  Buy in for additional project funds? The ability to hire and train more staff? What is the ultimate goal that we're trying to reach?
  • Understanding your emotions around the communication. How do we feel about approaching the subject? Are we approaching it from the perspective of a positive outcome? This will inform much more than your verbal communication, but your body language as well.
  • Empathy for the perspective of the other person. Is this something that they want? For Paul, it was only after he was unwavering in his examination of how he came across to others, that he was able to be honest about his tone and approach. He understand that he needed to meet his team where they were, not where he was.
  • Appointment! Scheduling a time and place to talk is key, whether we're speaking to our project team or our spouse. We must be cognizant of their receptivity in hearing our message.
  • Communicating that you have their best interest at heart.


If you're interesting in learning deeper social competence and relationship management, I can help you:
  • Learn how to more accurately read people and situations
  • Increase your empathy
  • Develop active listening skills
  • Identify who triggers certain emotions in you and why
  • Discover how to use your strengths to influence others 
  • Create leadership and mentoring opportunities
  • Developing potential in others
  • Assess your current communication skills and make improvements
  • Manage conflict more effectively
  • Build mutually beneficial relationship bonds
  • Lead teams and collaboration within them

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