Strategies for Improving Workplace Behavior and Performance

From Leadership Expert Dr. Diane Hamilton

Bones Brennan Character Exemplifies Lack of Empathy

 

Having empathy is a part of emotional intelligence as defined by leaders in the field of EI such as Rueven Bar-On.  Daniel Goleman describes three types of empathy including: cognitive, emotional and compassionate.  In the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, it is noted that having empathy is a big part of interpersonal skills.  It has to do with how much we care about other peoples’ feelings and whether we can see things from other peoples’ perspectives.

A recent episode of the TV show, Bones, showed an excellent example of how Emily Deschanel’s character Temperance Brennan lacked empathy.  For those unfamiliar with the program, the Brennan has a high IQ but may lack in the EQ or emotional quotient department.  In this episode, Bennan lacks the ability to realize that her logical thinking and lack of understanding of others’ emotions is rude.  In the episode, Feet on the Beach. Brennan must work with a podiatrist that she feels lacks her superior training and skills.  While this may be fodder for entertainment, people may run into a similar situations at work where they may feel their abilities are being dismissed.

How can someone so smart lack empathy?  It may be difficult for people to do what Dr. Jeremy Sherman refers to as “shoe shifting” or putting ourselves in another’s shoes.  “When you put yourself in another person’s shoes you risk seeing yourself as others would see you—not quite as special as you think”

How do we improve our empathetic abilities?  One way is to improve our listening skills.  For more tips on improving empathy, check out Sherman’s article in Psychology Today.

Are Employers Trying to Trick You In the Interview? Helpful Answer to a Popular Difficult Question

 

There is a lot of advice about how to ace the job interview.  The book, How to Reinvent Your Career, lists many helpful tools, site links and examples to help with this.

One of the main things that employers want to find out is if you are a positive person that has the ability to overcome challenges.  Jobs.AOL.com had an interesting article about how to answer questions about your greatest weakness.  Some may look at these questions as tricks in order to get you to say something negative about yourself.  Others may look at these types of questions and answers as a sort of game.

Jobs.AOL did give some good advice about how to handle these types of questions. They suggested that it might not be a good idea to say your greatest weakness is that you work too hard.  They also thought it is not a good idea to say you don’t have any weaknesses.  So how do you answer this without looking weak?  They suggest, “Pick a real weakness from your occupational tool set that you know has no bearing on the job you are interviewing for. The interviewer will acknowledge that you were honest with them, and will likely consider your “greatest weakness” to be meaningless to him. You should also mention that you are studying or taking a class to improve in this area. For example, a computer programmer might say that she wishes to improve her public speaking skills and is attending Toastmasters for training. By including your plan for overcoming this “weakness,” you have actually turned your answer into a pseudo-strength: You recognize your faults and set a plan for self-improvement. A very good quality.”