Emotional intelligence: Don’t forget about people

by 24 Feb 2015
By David Lykken
Special to MPA

In the mortgage industry, we have the tendency to focus on numbers. Just like in any other industry, we focus a great deal on sales--on producing results. We're concerned in closing ratios and productivity in generating revenue, and so on and so forth. We also pay a lot of attention to rates, because they sort of set the pace for the direction our industry moves. Most of the time, we're only considering what can be quantified.

What we often forget, though, is that our industry--just like every other--is all about people. We talk about "the consumer" like it's an abstract concept quantified by ideas such as "consumer sentiment." But, at the end of the day, the consumer is a real life flesh-and-blood human being. Consumers are people with real wants and desires. And it's not just consumers; it's employees, it's partners, it's investors. All of these are people--and not just numbers.

As leaders in the mortgage industry, I believe we need to invest more in bolstering our emotional intelligence. We need to work on strengthening our levels of empathy. We need to be able to understand what people want and why they behave the way they do. The old saw is true: people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. When we can demonstrate to the people with whom we interact that we care about them, the numbers will follow. But we should always start with empathy--we should always start with treating people like the human beings they are.

A regular contributor on CNBC and Fox Business News, David also hosts a successful weekly radio program called “Lykken On Lending” that is heard each Monday at noon (Central Standard Time) by thousands of mortgage professionals. Recently, he started producing a 1 minute video called “Today’s Mortgage Minute” that appears on hundreds of television, radio and newspaper websites daily across the United States.