The Trait Empathy Facet in Leadership and Education

The Trait Empathy Facet in Leadership and Education

Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8327-3.ch005

Abstract

This chapter illustrates how leaders promote the trait empathy facet in their leadership by listening to others, globalization, using the respectful mind, and by negotiating, compromising, and using conflict-resolution skills. In addition, this chapter also discusses how educators promote the trait empathy facet by creating a positive psychological environment in their classrooms, by using the respectful mind in order to appeal to international students, and investigates ways that educators can embrace their roles as leaders in the classroom. Finally, this chapter also gives elucidates the paradigms of those who oppose the promotion of the trait empathy facet in leadership and education.
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Introduction

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. -Dale Carnegie

Two words always seem to be confused with one another, sympathy, and empathy. Sympathy is the sharing of emotions from one person to another, such as sorrow for someone who lost a treasured pet, or pity for someone going through financial hardships, and usually has explicit emotional expression. Whereas empathy is the ability to understand the emotions of others, vicariously put yourself in their situation, therefore, comprehending their emotions, and usually has implicit emotional expression. If that is still confusing, an easy way to remember it is that there are greeting cards for sympathy, but not for empathy, at least at this time. This ability to understand the emotions of others, and to experience others’ paradigms vicariously, stems from the social nature of human beings (Khulood & Raed, 2007). Therefore, since both leadership and education are inherently social and emotional, it is of paramount importance that leaders and educators alike are able to promote the trait empathy facet in order to meet the needs of their students and followers respectfully, thereby enhancing their own effectiveness (Goleman, 2005; Mortiboys, 2012; Powell & Kusuma-Powell, 2010).

Petrides (2009a) defines the trait empathy facet as the ability of an individual to “see the world from someone else’s point of view” (p. 60). In addition, this facet “has to do with whether one can understand other people’s needs and desires” (Petrides, 2009a, p. 60), and those with high scores on the trait empathy facet are generally “skillful in conversations and negotiations because they take into account the viewpoints of those they are dealing with” (Petrides, 2009a, p. 60).

Consequently, this chapter will meet the following objectives:

  • Discuss how leaders promote the trait empathy facet by discussing listening to others, globalization, the respectful mind, negotiating, compromising, and conflict resolution.

  • Determine how educators promote the trait empathy facet by creating a positive psychological climate in the classroom, appealing to international students via the respectful mind, and how educators can embrace their roles as leaders in the classroom.

  • Give credence to the positions of those who disagree that leaders and educators should promote the trait empathy facet.

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The Emotionality Factor

The emotionality factor deals specifically with the ability of an individual to be “in touch with their own and other people’s feelings” (Petrides, 2009a, p. 61). In addition, the emotionality factor of trait EI also involves the ability of an individual to engage in emotional expression (Petrides, 2001; Petrides, 2009b), as well as “use these qualities to develop and sustain close relationships with important others” (Petrides, 2009a, p. 61). The emotionality factor of trait EI comprises the trait empathy, emotion perception (self and others), emotion expression, and relationships facets (Petrides, 2001, 2009a, 2009b), the focuses of chapters 5-8 respectively. Each of the facets that comprise the emotionality factor are central to both effective leadership and effective teaching, since after all, both leadership and teaching are inherently emotional (Bass & Bass, 2008; Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2002; Mortiboys, 2012; Powell & Kusuma-Powell, 2010), therefore, it would behoove leaders and educators alike to promote these facets in their leadership and teaching.

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