After the Webinar: Emotional Intelligence – Recognizing Interpersonal Skills and Empathy. Q&A with the Presenters

Webinar presenters Cheryl Stewart and Mike Brown answered a number of your questions after their presentation,  Emotional Intelligence: Recognizing Interpersonal Skills and Empathy in Criminal Justice Situations. Here are just a few of their responses.



Audience Question: What happened at the end of the video? Did the officer gets shot, or did he shoot the civilian? We couldn’t tell from the video. 

Mike Brown: Yes, so the officer shot the civilian. And again, that’s when we talked about how to outcome change, the desired outcome officer to go home safely. So, unfortunately, and I didn’t want to show it, but I wanted to show the relationship and whether it’s good or bad is still going to be a relationship, in this case, it just turned out where somewhat lost their life.


Audience Question: What’s an example of someone practicing too much empathy? So, for example on that 110 or higher range. What does that look like?

Cheryl Stewart: That can be actually you ever met someone with a martyr type of mentality or someone who they’re just so and absorbed and so much just kind of connected, in a way where it looks like it’s not true, if that makes sense to you, to the point where, “Oh, I understand. I really get it. Yes, I completely can relate to you.” Just being overly aggressive in exhibiting that they can live in your reality. If that makes sense to you. And to the point where it’s almost where they really look dishonest, they really are kind of exhibiting characteristics of maybe this is just a gain to this person.

Mike Brown: Yeah, it is good. Because that relationship that we talked about, has to be genuine. But let me give you two directly related law enforcement examples. So, we had a guy join the police department. He says he was a car salesman, and he was so empathetic that he didn’t take make any money because everyone who gave a story about how poor they were, he gave away the profits and he didn’t end up being a good officer either because he was so empathetic that he couldn’t do his job. He was ineffective. You pull on someone for overspeeding and any excuse they gave him, he empathized with them so much —– let them go. So, you can be so empathetic that you’re ineffective in your job if you just go overboard.

Cheryl Stewart:  Yeah, you’re too dependent. That can be one where you’re just too connected to the individual and too dependent and not expressing a level of autonomy or independence in the relationship. To the point where it’s almost I characterize it just overly sensitive and overly accommodating, and you avoid conflict, you’re to a point where you’re just “Oh, yes. I completely understand,” that type of thing.

Mike Brown: Yeah. It’s different. You don’t have the desired outcome that you want.


Audience Question: So too much empathy can result in co-dependency, are we hearing that, right? 

Cheryl Stewart: So too much empathy can really be considered, not so much co-dependency. If empathy is being able and when you manage it appropriately, I can understand your perspective, and I can see your point of view. But I also can maintain my own identity, maintain my own perspective, as well. But I can completely see where Mike is coming from, and I respect his opinion. But it’s not to the point where I have lost my own thinking and my, and I’m not able to kind of embrace the values or the self-regard. Do you know where I’m going, that’s why self-awareness is so important.

Host: We’ve lost our solutions focus.

Cheryl Stewart: Not able to do conflict, you just go with the flow in understanding this person’s perspective completely.

Mike Brown: There was this —- that I read years ago, that was done by the Department of Justice. They were there saying that an officer who was friendly was more likely to be killed on the job. And it goes to the empathy swinging way to the opposite end. In to where you’re not even aware of the danger. Because you are sympathetic to the person you’re interacting with.

Cheryl Stewart: So, a lot of times, as a parent, I can relate to my children, I can have a conversation with them, and I can see their perspective. But, as the parent, I know better so, I don’t easily give in. I can understand where they’re going, but I can also maintain my perspective, take a stand, and feel comfortable with that. But still be able to say, “I get that you believe social media is the way to communicate with everyone, and you don’t have to pick up the phone and say hi to your grandparents. I can respect that’s what your perspective is but at the same time, here’s my perspective. I have empathy for you, but I still have advice and guidance that I think you should listen to as well. “I’m thinking of examples at work where there are people in conflict with one another. And you see the perspective of each individual. But the ability to kind of, if there’s a policy in place and that there’s the reality of a situation that you saw that wasn’t quite what they saw. You can still have compassion and meet that person from where they are and respect their feelings. But that doesn’t mean you have to pair with them in agreeing on their perspective and saying, “Okay, well, I’m just going to go along with this, because it seems like I may be the most longstanding individual in this particular situation.”


Audience Question: Is there a relationship between EQ and Myers-Briggs? 

Cheryl Stewart: Okay, Myers Briggs. There have been some studies about that. I can, you know what, you should e-mail me because I can share with you some of the information. Share with you, some of the information that’s been done. There are some, the sensing, the intuition – they do have some parallels, but that’s pretty much, that’s a longer conversation.

Mike Brown: Risk assessment, person, and all that. Yeah.

Cheryl Stewart: Right. Right. Right. So, yes. The intuitive, you know, that’s a really detailed conversation. But, yes, they have done studies, and they do have some areas where you can kind of compare. Myers-Briggs sometimes looks at things from, it is who you are, this is who you are. You know what I’m saying? Like, when you take the assessment, this is the person you are, and this is how you approach things, whether you’re introverted or extroverted. You approach it this way. And EQ really is about the journey and growing. And you may change, and often, in most cases, if you are committed to addressing your emotional intelligence, and you’re doing the reading and doing the heavy lift to improve and grow. So, there is an evolution, so to speak, in emotional intelligence. In a lot of cases with Myers-Briggs. Sometimes, it’s really, I was ISTJ, 10 years ago, I am ISTJ now. I am introverted that you sort of, innate. The way that they kind of created that, that structure of research. And a lot of people, honestly, are kind of deviating from Myers-Briggs because they feel that it’s not, is an accurate way to kind of measure a person’s psychological skills.

Mike Brown: I’m ISTJ as well.

Cheryl Stewart: But a lot of, organizations that used to be very, very highly, and I’m not speaking poorly about it, because it is a good tool to promote self-awareness. But there are some organizations and some researchers who say it may be, that this may not be as a reliable tool or instrument that we thought to use and measure a person’s psychological behavior. I hope that answers your question. But yes, it can find some information for you, and send it to you.


Audience Question: So, if EQ is so critical, why is it not being trained so much in, like, academies and onboarding, in organizational development? Why is it not present in so many of our other training programs?

Mike Brown:  That’s an excellent question. Like anything, especially for our law enforcement family. We’re really reactive. I taught my first EI course, I want to say, over 10 years ago. So, it’s been around, it’s just law enforcement, sometimes. We just, we’re late to the game. But we are, again, I’m at the leadership academy right now, and EI is at the forefront. We just caught on late, I think.

Cheryl Stewart: Again, it involves a commitment, and it’s one that, you know, I think it’s growing now, in this, in our society now, with so many factors, the social media, and all of those different components. And I know we have to wrap it up. I think it’s slowly becoming a part of the dinner table conversation, and I think it just requires looking at it as being more long-term and not a one-off. In development programs, in organizational development structures, our training, and HR. And, again, it shouldn’t be used in recruitment to determine the job or candidate in a job. You can use it in recruitment. But it’s not recommended that you use it to determine if the person should be hired. You can do it to use it, to look at the person’s score and look at certain how they measure to kind of just get a picture of them, but it should not be the overall determining factor for whether you should hire them in the recruitment process or in the hiring process. It’s because it’s just, it should be used with a number of tools.


Audience Question: Do you have any advice for making a change from the bottom up when executives don’t necessarily value EQ? 

Cheryl Stewart: Could it be put into a development plan? Are you doing performance improvement plans or development plans for your team? That could be an avenue or a tool that you use to kind of slowly build. If you’re doing development plans, and you’re listing certain goals, if you’re setting certain goals that you want people on your team to develop or to accomplish within a certain time frame, because typically, that’s what’s in a development plan, right. You may want to consider maybe something that’s related to Emotional Intelligence. No, I don’t know, I know a lot of budgets get cut and are streamlined. There are so many tools out there that are available through the internet and web that may not cost a lot. It could be as simple as learning a course in an LMS system that your company has. It could be as something as simple as maybe even reading a white paper or putting together a presentation and having that person kind of study it. Maybe you set a goal that they need to take a certain class in a particular time frame in their development plan. I know organizations will say, we want our employees to have at least two learning objectives for a certain time for the year, for the performance appraisal period, or if you’re doing performance appraisals. But I think goal setting is one approach that’s effective for a person on your team. Because ultimately people really want to do well, and they want the opportunity to grow into and to advance. And if as a manager or a leader, you can have that conversation with a team member, by engaging them in a way where they can tell you what they want out of their career. And then you can also say, well, I think that’s great, but let’s do this. And maybe emotional intelligence is one of those areas that you could kind of suggest to them, and as they set goals for the year.


Audience Question: She works for a domestic violence agency and wants to know if there’s ever been any research or studies done that correlates lower EQ with abusers? So, do abusers have lower EQ scores? Have you ever seen anything along those lines? 

Cheryl Stewart: I don’t know about the scores. But the behaviors and the characteristics of an abuser could be if we took those characteristics and what in how you would describe a person that’s considered an abuser. And you look at the model that I use, and you kind of look at those scores, and the certain behaviors within that range, there could possibly be some type of correlation. I honestly have never seen an EI assessment done on an abuser. But I can tell you what the scales look like, and I can show you what those behaviors look like if it’s low or overdone.


Audience Question: That sounds like a fantastic research project for a budding master’s student or a doctoral dissertation.

Cheryl Stewart: Right, right. It may exist, but if you e-mail me, I can send you something that kind of like a chart that shows you if it’s overdone. Here’s how you, here’s what a person would how they would behave if it’s not developed, here’s how a person would behave. And if you’re right in the mid score area, or if you’re high to mid-range, where it should be, where you should be, here’s how you would behave. I can certainly share that with you.


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