Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

Empathic Design
Empathy Circles

  Restorative Empathy Circles
Empathy Tent

Expert Interviews
Obama on Empathy


    Empathy Tests


Culture of Empathy Builder:  Daniel Goleman




 "Daniel Jay Goleman is an author, psychologist, and science journalist. For twelve years, he wrote for The New York Times, specializing in psychology and brain sciences. He is the author of more than 10 books on psychology, education, science, ecological crisis, and leadership. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee." Wikipedia


 If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.  Daniel Goleman

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection—or compassionate action.” Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

"Empathetic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers, or subordinates. They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say. They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and respond on the mark,"   Primal Leadership.



Actually, We Don’t Need More Empathy
Leading psychologist Daniel Goleman explains why empathy alone rarely leads to action–and proposes a simple meditation exercise to change that.
“We need more empathy” has become a common refrain in and outside the business world, and it’s no wonder why. With diversity and inclusion efforts lurching fitfully forward, and America’s political divisions spilling into seemingly all aspects of public life, walking a mile or three in others’ shoes just seems like a smart, and urgent, idea. But it may not be enough."


2015-03-24 - Daniel Goleman and Bill George: Authenticity and Empathy
"Leadership depends on tuning into people, talking to them in a way they understand, motivating them, influencing them, and listening to them. Daniel Goleman talked with Bill George about how a leader's empathy is empty without authenticity."

  • Daniel Goleman

  • Focusing

  • 3 kinds of empathy

    • cognitive empathy- how people think and perceive the world, mental models

    • emotional empathy - resonate with the other

    • empathic concern - care about it. and communicate it. I have your back

  • Bill George:

    • I'm a late comer to communicating empathy

    • I was in more sell or tell

    • how do we convey this empathy

      • listen honestly

      • non judgmental feedback

      • have mentor

    • close to compassion - self-compassion

    • asking people how they feel?

  • they call empathy the soft side..  but it's actually the key element and the hard side.

  • Daniel - empathic concern basis of  compassion


Dec 22, 2013 - Daniel Goleman - Leadership and Compassion - Empathy and Compassion in Society 2013 

  • Leadership and empathy/compassion - everyone a leader

  • Time (stress)  and compassion - Divinity student experiment

  • Different steps in a causal series.

  • Mirror Neurons discovery

    • instant inner map of what's going on in others

    • we feel other peoples pain

    • makes emotions contagious

  • Team catches the emotions of the team leader

  • Businesses empathizing with customers

  • Types of leadership

    • command and control

    • etc.

  • Report

    • full attention

    • feeling good and flow

  • Who is the leader of the team?

  • Defining compassion beyond just giving.

Sep 29, 2013 - Empathy 101
"That natural curiosity about other people’s reality, technically speaking, signifies “cognitive empathy,” the ability to see the world through others’ eyes. Cognitive empathy is mind-to-mind, giving us a mental sense of how another person’s thinking works. It’s one of three kinds of empathy, each with a premium in the workplace and in relationships anywhere in our lives.

This way of tuning in to another person does more than give us an understanding of their view – it tells us how best to communicate with that person: what matters most to them, their models of the world, and what even what words to use – or avoid – in talking with them."


March 1, 2008 - Hot to Help - When can empathy move us to action?

"This brings me to psychologist Paul Ekman, an expert on our ability to read and respond to others’ emotions. When I recently spoke with Ekman, he discussed three main ways we can empathize with others, understanding their emotions as our own. The differences between these forms of empathy highlight the challenges we face in responding to other people’s pain. But they also make clear how the right approach can move us to compassionate action.

The first form is “cognitive empathy,” simply knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. Sometimes called perspective-taking, this kind of empathy can help in, say, a negotiation or in motivating people. A study at the University of Birmingham found, for example, that managers who are good at perspective-taking were able to move workers to give their best efforts."

Book" Primal leadership: realizing the power of emotional intelligence

"The Business Case. Of all the dimensions of emotional intelligence, social awareness may be the most easily recognized. We have all felt the empathy of a sensitive teacher of friend; we have all been struck by absence in an unfeeling coach or boss. But when it comes to business, we rarely hear people praised, let alone rewarded, for their empathy. The very word seems unbusinesslike, out of place amid the though realties of the marketplace.
...   empathy means taking employees' feelings into thoughtful consideration and then making intelligent decisions that work those feelings into the response. And, most crucially, empathy makes resonance possible; lacking empathy, leaders act in ways that create dissonance.

Daniel Goleman, "Focus: the Hidden Driver of Excellence" | Talks at GoogleIn
"Focus, Psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman, author of the #1 international bestseller Emotional Intelligence, offers a groundbreaking look at today's scarcest resource and the secret to high performance and fulfillment: attention."


Daniel Goleman on the different kinds of empathy for Leadership

  • Cognitive Empathy

    • I understand how you think about things

    • taking the other's perspective

    • downside - if only have cognitive empathy they can manipulate you

  • Emotional Empathy

    • I feel with you, feel you distress

    • critical forr leadership, create repor

    • downside - dealing with pain you can burnout

    • emotional self-management

  • Empathic Concern

    • felt sense when you see other's pain

    • spontaneously want to help out

    • are good team players

  • Effective leaders have all 3




Selling Social and Emotional Learning: An Interview with Daniel Goleman 

  • emotional intelligence

  • 1980's there were many social problems the government funded programs to help

  • programs that helped were the ones that help teach empathy, deal with emotions

  • social and emotional learning training

    • pro-social tendency improve

    • bullying, drugs, go down

    • academic achievement goes up

  • get over a academic achievement as an end-all

  • companies want people with social and emotional skills

  • neuroscience tells us children's brains at plastic

    • teach emotional skills

    • will build more safety

TED Talks:
Daniel Goleman on Compassion


Daniel Goleman - Compassion and Empathy


  • Divinity students given task to present a sermon on the good Samaritan

  • Pass person in distress on the way to the talk and ignore them

  • how much of a hurry were they in

  • more hurry - less help

  • default brain wiring is to help - mirror neuron

  • self absorption, empathy to compassion

  • focused on our selves, we don't notice the other, focus on the other

2009-05-02 - "Empathy" – Who's Got It, Who Does Not - Huffington Post
When President Obama tells us he wants a compassionate Supreme Court justice with “empathy” for people’s struggles, he’s wandered into arguments within psychology of what we mean by the term.

2008  Hot to Help: When can empathy move us to action?
This brings me to psychologist Paul Ekman, an expert on our ability to read and respond to others’ emotions. When I recently spoke with Ekman, he discussed three main ways we can empathize with others, understanding their emotions as our own. The differences between these forms of empathy highlight the challenges we face in responding to other people’s pain. But they also make clear how the right approach can move us to compassionate action.

Empathy, Social Intelligence and Leadership  -  Harvard Business
An interview with Daniel Goleman, Psychologist. See how you can use emotional and social intelligence to improve your own and your organization's performance.



Daniel Goleman Introduces Emotional Intelligence
The author explains his theories of emotional intelligence.



SuperSoul Sunday
"Do you have a good sense of how others see the world? More than 20 years ago, New York Times science reporter Daniel Goleman discovered the unknown component of human success known as emotional intelligence, and he helped popularize the term with his 1995 book of the same name. You can have better relationships and more success, it turns out, if you’re skilled at empathizing with others.

Here, Daniel reveals the three types of empathy, and how they make up the recipe for strong, lasting relationships"