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Last week, I was teaching a topic I understand well. When a student disagreed with a point I made, I instantly proceeded to explain why I was right and he was wrong. Of course, this resulted in a shutdown by him and others in the classroom. My ego was big, and it was negatively triggered when he started his point of view with, “I disagree with…”
Have you ever done that? Have you ever been so convinced of your own thinking that you refused to see another’s point of view?
There is a name for this type of thinking: Lack of intellectual empathy. Intellectual empathy is having a consciousness of the need to imaginatively put oneself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them. This requires the consciousness of our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions of long-standing thought or belief.
Michael Jinkins published an article in the Huffington Post about Intellectual Empathy. He tells a story of a professor who demonstrated outstanding intellectual empathy. You can access the article at link.
Jinkins wrote: “Genuine intellectual empathy requires creativity and commitment — a commitment and a willingness to imagine others’ ideas from within. One has to come alongside another person. One has to be willing to say, ‘I may not share your perspective — in fact, I may disagree with you entirely! — but we share a common humanity and so I want to understand what you think.’”
This concept of intellectual empathy made me very aware of something that I have been struggling with but couldn’t put a name to. Now that I have a name for it, I will be able to do something about it.
If you struggle with a lack of intellectual empathy, here are a few actions you can take to improve:
Diane is the author of the first-of-its-kind public mobile LearningApp to teach a softskills topic. It is a book disguised as classroom learning with the interaction of social media. The app teaches leaders the ins and outs of delegation. To preview or purchase the app, click on a link below.
It’s a war out there and you are not alone. You have a team of people on your side who will help you win the battle of mounting workloads and pressing deadlines – if, you ask them.
If you do it alone, you will eventually lose the war. You might win a few battles by working late and long hours, but eventually you will run out of steam and the workload will overwhelm you.
Three signs that you are fighting the battle alone are:
Your team members are ready and in position to help you fight the war on workload and deadlines – engage them through effective delegation. The 2-Way Delegation app has tips for winning through delegation. Download it, interact with it, and engage your team.
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How does your team behave? The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team provides both individual and team feedback.