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Why Empathy is the Most Important Part of Emotional Intelligence



why empathy is important
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Have you ever seen a 3-year-old child laughing hard at another crying with distress or pain?  If you haven’t, can you visualize a scene like that? How about two grown-ups in a similar scene, a grown-up laughing at another grown-up in pain or sorrow, at least do you remember any movie scenes?

As I became privileged to be a father to my son, I started experiencing life differently with his existence and company. Thanks to him, I am convinced that we come into this world well equipped with empathetic skills, but do we tend to lose these skills as we grow up?

This realization was an intriguing one for me as I kept coming across with empathy and emotional intelligence topics being presented and talked about as one of the important traits to be a successful and inspirational leader. I wanted to better understand what they are and why they are so important for today’s leaders who aspire to be inspirational ones.

Definition of Empathy

There are various definitions of empathy. The simplest and the most effective one for me was feeling with people as Brené Brown put it and this is how it is different than sympathy, which can be considered as feeling for people

Feeling with people (empathy) requires you to see and feel the situation from my perspective by putting yourself into my shoes, while feeling for people (sympathy) is acknowledging my situation.

When you experience bad news such as the loss of a loved one, a co-worker can be sympathetic and say; “I am sorry for your loss, it sucks.” Regarding empathy, a co-worker can say “I am sorry for your loss, I know it feels terrible, what are the things that I can help you with?”

For simplicity, empathy drives connectedness with others, while sympathy does not necessarily.

“Empathy is the ability to step outside of your own bubble and into the bubbles of other people.” – C. Joybell

Types of Empathy

There are a few types of empathy mentioned, including, but not limited to, cognitive (taking the perspective of another) and emotional (feeling the emotions of another). 

While there is some research indicating that the human brain responds differently when cognitive and emotional empathy are activated, I like to consider them as not separate. Both types of empathy resonate with me as a whole; taking others’ perspectives in order to feel the emotions as they feel so that we can act accordingly.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman, indicates empathy as a component of emotional intelligence, actually one of the 12 emotional intelligence competencies. Why is emotional intelligence and/or one of its core competencies, empathy important for leaders? I tend to believe, we mostly follow leaders who we connect with, through emotions and feelings, rather than logic.

Just like we mostly make our decisions based on our feelings and then we force fit them to reason. The leader mentioned here is not necessarily the organizationally hierarchical manager, but they could be anyone who takes care of others and drives them towards a compelling vision.

Emotional intelligence, thus empathy, comes into the picture not only when there is sadness, but also when there is happiness. A leader with strong emotional intelligence acknowledges that recognizing and appreciating the successful performance of two individuals with different personality factors better not be the same. Jackie is a self-driven, result oriented, and fact-based go-getter while Jack is driven by collaboration, team effort and has a high need for affiliation.

An effective way to recognize Jackie’s efforts might be to demonstrate how her results fit within the broader organization’s overall performance, thus her positive and significant impact by numbers. While Jack will appreciate being recognized for his efforts’ resulting in enhancing the team’s spirit and taking everyone to the next level in collaboration. By doing so, both Jackie and Jack will potentially feel more fulfilled, motivated and engaged while appreciating their leader for recognizing and feeling their perspective.

“Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.” – Travis Bradberry

The first time my 3-year-old-son saw a cartoon character get hurt on TV, he said, “he hurt himself, he is in pain” and started crying as if he was hurt himself. A baby will probably start crying if she hears another one crying and will smile back upon receiving that smile with the warmth generated from her mom’s unconditional love.

So, I don’t know if growing up kills empathy, but I feel like it isn’t promoted as we typically start establishing personal barriers and biases as part of the growing up process, which makes it difficult to understand and feel with others. I want to believe that we don’t lose it completely but inhibit and we can learn it back from our kids. They will do this free of charge and as good as corporate training instructors, executive and personal coaches, as long as we have the willingness

Therefore, the first step to take is just to recognize that empathy is not something to learn as a new skill but to bring back from our childhood, which we all surely had once.

Can you think of a time where empathy played a huge role in your life? Share your stories with us below!

I am Kaan Demiryurek, and I currently work at PepsiCo, R&D. I am an engineer by background, BSc. Food Engineering, and I have big interest in philosophy, psychology and history, as I believe personal interest in these areas complements well with my educational background. Here is my LinkedIn profile,

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Success Advice

How Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success

Your life is dictated by beliefs and biases that drive your thinking, behaviors, and decisions



Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success (1)
Image Credit: Midjourney

Pause for a moment and ponder two pandemic-era beliefs: First, closing schools will control the spread of a serious virus. Second, the consequences of such school closures—particularly social interruption and the prevention of immunity—are worse than becoming sick with the virus. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Break the Cycles of Mediocrity and Manifest Your Greatness

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity



Image Credit: Midjourney

In just a few weeks, we will be wrapping up 2023. Can you believe it? This year has been absolutely incredible for me.

I have seen amazing doors opened, new relationships formed and I am seeing dreams realized in my life. While this seems like the hallmarks of a great year, this has also been the most challenging year of my life. With all of the change happening in my life, I have been forced out of my comfort zone and challenged to grow in every area of my life.

I can truly say that I have made the most of my moments this year and I have used everything as a catalyst for maximizing my greatest potential.

As a revolutionary leader, I have the pleasure of consulting and advising leaders around the world to fulfill purpose, realize their greatest potential and make an impact.

I want to share some insights with you that will help you to break cycles of mediocrity and manifest your greatness

Everything legal must come through the matrix

I am sure that some of you are wondering why I am using the term matrix. However, what you have to understand is that I am trying to make a highly complex spiritual principle practical to understand.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, every life has an origin and I believe that origin is divine and begins with eternity. You are birthed from eternity and into time to fulfill a unique purpose and assignment in your lifetime and generation.

The matrix is simply the portal or vehicle that brings something out of the invisible realm and into tangible form. The problem with much of the teaching today is that it excludes the matrix. We are told to believe that success is instantaneous and overnight.

Nobody talks about how a dream progresses through stages beginning with visualization and ultimately culminating in manifestation. Without a matrix or portal then everything that you attempt to birth and build will be illegal.

The matrix not only makes you legal but it gives you the authority and power to function as the greatest expression of who you were created to be. 

Every matrix has an incubation process

While many people admire and respect me today, I remember a time when nobody knew who I was or the significance of my message. How did I get to where I am today? I got here through an incubation process.

In other words, everything that has been destined for your life is incubating and awaiting a set time of manifestation. The problem is that most people live their entire lives idle and never initiate the incubation process.

What do I meany by that? Most people are living reckless and very few people are living intentionally. I am amazed at the number of people I have conversations with that have no vision, goals or strategies for their lives. They show great promise and they have undeniable potential.

However, without development they will die with their dreams still in them.

Everything that has been destined for your life must be incubated and converted to become realities born to time. 

“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin to build.” – Robert Collier

You must give expression to that which is not yet born to time

When you think about a matrix or a prophetic incubation process, you have to understand that potential is often unrealized and untapped. In other words, your potential is in raw form and your potential cannot serve you as long as it is untapped.

The thing that makes me valuable is that I have the ability to convert potential into power. I have done it in my own life and I have empowered leaders around the world to do the same. How do you convert potential into power?

First, it is important to note that you have to perceive potential. If you cannot perceive your potential then you can never cultivate your potential. In addition, you must take the time to cultivate your potential. We often get excited about our capabilities; however, we never expand our capacity in order to realize our greatest potential.

In other words, the strength of your potential is only discovered through your willingness to stretch. The more we are challenged the more we are empowered to expand our capacity for greatness. Most of all, you must begin to express your potential. The expression of potential is different for every person.

For example, the expression of my potential is best demonstrated through the thoughts, ideas, products, services, books, etc.

For another person the expression of potential may look like a screenplay, artwork, sports, scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, etc.

Regardless of the form of expression, I know that you will live empty and unfulfilled until you make the decision to express your potential. The expression of your potential gives voice to your dreams, life to your vision, significance to your moments and activates your true power.

You must manifest your greatness

As a revolutionary thinker and leader, my work has impacted people around the world. I am grateful that my life is a source of empowerment to so many people. However, before anyone could ever benefit from my life, I had to make a non-negotiable decision to become who I was born to be.

I wish I could tell you that this journey is easy and that you will get there overnight. However, in a world that celebrates us for doing we are often criticized for being. As a result, I wasted a lot of time trying to be who other people wanted me to be instead of being who I was born to be.

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity. It is through our bravery to be vulnerable that we ultimately manifest our greatness. We do not bless the world by being a duplicate. We bless the world when we honor our difference. When you honor your difference you honor your potential.

Ultimately, your difference is how you manifest your greatness.

When you present anything but your authentic self to the world, you are playing small and you are robbing the world of your significance. Manifesting your greatness requires you to master your gifts.

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Success Advice

Here’s a Young Man’s Antidote for the Uncertainty of the Modern World

Why do a lot of young guys lack confidence in today’s world? 



How to boost your confidence
Image Credit: Midjourney

We all have been told that confidence is a key factor in achieving success and happiness in life. But what is it exactly? (more…)

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Success Advice

Toxic Leadership: 5 Ways to Identify a Bad Leader

if you have a leader who displays any of the toxic traits, it’s time to move on to greener pastures.



Toxic leadership
Image Credit: Midjourney

Let’s be honest, we’ve all crossed paths with a toxic leader in our careers at some point. Unfortunately, while some toxic leaders don’t even bother to hide their behaviour, some know very well how to conceal their true selves behind a strong-built facade. The latter is the most dangerous of the two. (more…)

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