Since the 1980s, thanks to the theory of multiple intelligences formulated by the neuropsychologist Howard Gardner, the idea that there cannot be just one type of intelligence , namely that “measurable ??” through the famous IQ tests very popular in the USA. These tests, in fact, detect a type of intelligence that says very little about the real possibility of success of the individual. On the contrary, as certified in the 90s by the researches of Salovey and Mayer and by the contributions of Goleman, it is thanks to the development of a strong emotional and social intelligence that one empathizes with others and succeeds in motivating them until reaching the final goals.A fundamental skill in leadership, often underestimated or even ignored , is therefore the ability to understand oneself and others, one’s feelings and those of others. So here are some tips for ?? “training” ?? your emotional (and social) intelligence by relying on a simple communication model with certain results.


It would be foolish to think that one can relate more openly to others without opening up to oneself. Ask yourself how you manage your emotions, stress, conflicts and your interactions with those around you , or reflect on how much interest you generally pay in what you are told, how much time you spend on relationships with your collaborators or solving their problems . Only by making a summary of your real empathic abilities can you focus on your strengths and improve your weaknesses in the social relationships that characterize your daily life.


Of course, the fundamental prerequisite for effective communication is ?? listening to the other person . The first step to take is to prepare oneself in an open way with respect to who is speaking to us, to try to understand first of all the facts, what he is telling us . Listening in an empathic way means, at this moment, trying to understand the situation without thinking about the answer to give, without interrupting , focusing exclusively on what is reported to us, giving full freedom to those in front of us to express their vision and their idea on the matter.


The lack of empathy often leads to exasperated criticism, superficial judgments, extreme perfectionism and a general lack of balance that prevents us from providing useful advice or, in the workplace, the gratifications necessary to motivate those who work with us. Practicing an empathic and participatory listening, therefore, means ?? “lend an ear” ?? to the other without liquidating it in a few minutes , it means not hiding behind clichés or hasty advice , it means speaking not to make judgments of merit or to make one’s point of view prevail at all costs but to help someone who is asking us an exchange. Much of the social and emotional intelligence involves knowing how to advise and offer opinions without confusing one’s own experience and personality with the experience and personality of others .


Listening with participation and involvement helps to focus even on the more emotional side of the conversation, that is, on the moods, emotions, fears, doubts that the other expresses, paying attention to how he expresses all this . Gestures, tone of voice, gaze, construction of sentences help to connect with the speaker giving him the feeling of being truly listened to and not judged. Knowing how to understand emotional states and listen with interest, calmly, with participation to the facts reported is an essential skill for anyone who wishes to exercise their leadership in a serious and productive way., strengthening both the trust in himself and the self-esteem of his employees.


Summing up what has been said up to this point, empathic listening is based on an active and participatory approach to dialogue, aimed at avoiding the blocks and embarrassments that are constantly generated in standardized communication. It is not a passive listening but neither is it a constant search to intervene in the speech to show one’s interest or attention. So what is meant by ?? “active listening ??”? Learning to balance listening and intervention, understanding and exchange , expressing one’s emotional closeness without creating frustration in the interlocutor by diverting or focusing the conversation on himself. It means developing theability to ask the right questions at the right time, play down with humor when necessary, control the impatience that leads to interrupt too hastily . Listening actively means asking for clarification, offering alternative interpretations of what has been said, asking questions and, basically, stepping aside : it means putting yourself in the other’s shoes without believing that your own is a better or privileged point of view .


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