Walk In Another Person’s Shoes

“Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy.”

~ Dean Koontz

Walk In Another Person’s Shoes

By Andrew Sobel

Here are nine practices that will help you walk in the other person’s shoes. Follow these, and you’ll be more empathetic, winsome, and engaging. Think about the person you’re about to meet with:

  1. Picture the circumstances. What’s happening, right now, in the other person’s life? What pressures are they under?
  2. Reflect on what you can do to make that person comfortable and relaxed.
  3. Imagine what they are thinking. What’s on their mind?
  4. Imagine what they are feeling. What emotions are they experiencing right now? What will their mood be?
  5. Lead with thoughtful questions about both thoughts and feelings.
  6. Start with their agenda, not yours. Don’t be so anxious to persuade and convince, to push your point of view on them as soon as you’re together.
  7. Think about how your ideas or proposals will be received. How will the other person react?
  8. Try to help others come up with the right answer or best conclusion, as opposed to giving it to them directly.
  9. Ask yourself how pure your own motives are. Whose best interests are you pushing? Is there a self-interest motive that you’re pursuing? (pg. 55)

From: Sobel, A. and Panas, J. (2014). Power Relationships: 26 Irrefutable Laws for Building Extraordinary Relationships

Reprinted with permission from the OSU Leadership Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, (614) 292-3114, http://leadershipcenter.osu.edu/


Do you agree that empathy is an important leadership skill?  Please share below in the comment area.