Ask Skip: Do You Have a Degree in Psychology? (no one has ever asked me this)

Last week the owner of a small business (about $10 million and 60 employees) called to investigate how I might help with workplace drama he was facing.

Early in our conversation he asked, “do you have a degree in psychology?”

“No,” I replied curiously, “Why does that matter?”

“I’m struggling with a number of personality conflicts between people in our company and I thought I someone with that background is what I need.”

I told him, “I have a degree in communication, and your issues with workplace personality conflicts are simply communication issues I can help with.”

In 13 years of helping business leaders transform workplaces from drama and into initiative and ownership no one ever asked me that question.

After that call I realized that it doesn’t matter if I have a formal degree in psychology.

I do have training though, both formal and informal, in personal change strategies. All are based in interpersonal communication.

There is one over-arching communication strategy anyone can use to help people change their attitudes and behaviors, even you.


Empathy is the most mis-understood communication strategy.

In my leadership communication trainings, the role-play exercises attendees engage in, consistently show me few know how to deliver empathy effectively.

Empathy is the ultimate in listening and reflecting what the listener is hearing.

A primary reason psychologists, social workers and counselors are able to achieve results with clients seeking personal change is directly related to their communication style.

Obviously, this communication style is part of their formal training, yet, research has shown similar results can be achieved with layman who are also able to exhibit high levels of empathy.

So, what IS empathy and how can you display it?

I’ll address that issue with specific language later this week. Stay tuned.

Because of my emphasis on the survey last week, I still have a couple of openings for my 5 FREE Revolutionary Leadership Strategy Sessions.

If, as a small business leader, you like to improve the results you achieve with your employees, I encourage you to request a Strategy Session here at this link:

’til next time, make it a great week!