Lessons in Emotional Intelligence: How to make someone truly feel heard and seen
I thought I was a high performer. I could pretty much knock out of the park whatever technical task was given to me.
But as my career progressed, I started realizing that the technical skills that helped secure my first promotions might not guarantee my next ones. I found myself feeling confused and uncertain.
After attending one of Google’s leadership trainings many years ago—a story I share in “So you want to be a Tech Lead”— I got one of my biggest career epiphanies. The a-ha moment was the realization that leadership is not just for managers and that the more senior I got, the more I needed to work on my leadership skills.
That’s when my interest in understanding leadership started growing, which led me to a Harvard Business Review article called “What Makes a Leader”. Here, the psychologist Daniel Goleman—who coined the term “emotional intelligence”—states:
The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. My research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.
At Google and many other companies, this philosophy applies not just to executive positions, but to everybody above a certain level, making emotional intelligence a key differentiator and requirement.
Today’s article is based on a core component of emotional intelligence: the ability to accurately recognize and understand the emotions of others, in other words, to make people feel “heard” and “seen”.
If you want to understand the meaning of feeling “heard” and "seen", the distinction between the two, and what actions to take—and what to avoid—to make others feel heard and seen, then keep reading!
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