Strong leadership is about more than just a particular set of skills. It also requires leaders with a set of traits that will show consideration towards others. The one trait that is crucial here is compassion.
What if I told you that compassion in leadership is not just a nice-to-have quality, but it also affects teams, departments, and entire businesses?
Imagine a behavior that can improve someone else’s feeling of personal worth. If you have a team practicing compassion, think of the compounding effect it will have on the entire organization.
Compassion is more than just emotion
I always felt that compassion was more of an action instead of just an emotion. Through personal experience and leadership coaching, I’ve realized that compassion has three elements that support action:
- It’s vital that we feel the difficulties we’re seeing in other people are critical.
- Those difficulties should be a set of circumstances and not self-imposed.
- We should be able to imagine ourselves in the same difficult situation.
We often see compassion as a two-way street, where the person showing compassion is expecting to get something in return. True compassionate leadership is different, as the leader showing compassion expects nothing in return.
What is compassionate leadership?
Compassionate leadership is focused on the individual and their needs, as well as the needs of the team. Compassionate leaders can take people with them on a journey of personal growth and development when things get tough.
They know people are not perfect, which means they understand how crucial it is for everyone to reach their full potential together as a team. All this effort results in a long-term success for people, their teams, and the entire organization.
Why is compassionate leadership important?
Compassionate leadership is the new requirement of modern-day leaders who want to navigate their people and organizations toward sustainable success. We live in a world where compassion is no longer viewed as weakness.
Today’s leaders must treat their people with greater care and kindness, while respecting everyone’s unique qualities that they bring to the team or organization.
If you are looking to develop your compassion and the ability to understand people, here are a few things that outstanding leaders do:
Develop a positive attitude. One of the most important things that a leader can do is develop their mental attitude. If they are always positive, supportive, and encouraging towards others, it will make people feel comfortable around them. This leads to open communication about any issues or concerns one might have with the workplace.
Switch the conversation. When talking to others, we often focus on ourselves and our accomplishments. A thoughtful leader understands that “I” isn’t a useful starting point for conversation. As such, they go from being concerned with their own ego-driven desires all the way out into an ocean full of compassion. This creates meaningful conversations with a focus on people and their needs.
Listen intently. The outstanding leaders are those who take the time to listen and understand their employees. They try to understand them, talk with them and learning about what makes each person tick—and this goes for all levels within organizations too. This creates a sense of belonging and promotes a healthy work culture.
Invest time in your people. It’s clear that leaders who invest in their team members create a better work environment. It seems like a straightforward decision, but compassionate leaders know the importance of investing time and resources into those they lead. This will cause great returns down the road because you will build better relationships with your team.
Create a collaborative culture. Leaders who are compassionate are great at bringing the entire team to contribute to their vision and goals. They make sure everyone has a voice, regardless of status or position, within an organization’s hierarchy. This way, they can collaborate by sharing ideas with one another while offering creative solutions to the team and organization.
4 ways to be a more compassionate leader
You can be the compassionate leader your people deserve to have. Compassion, combined with empathy, will make you more relatable and approachable leader. While this may sound like a lot of work, it is doable with the right effort and focus. I’ve put together 4 ways that will make you a more compassionate leader.
1. Show gratitude
We all want to feel like we play an important role in the company and that people appreciate our work. When leaders show gratitude, they can earn respect from their employees.
There are many ways you can show kindness and support to your people. Whether it’s mentoring, guidance, or just simple recognition, your people and organization will benefit in the long run.
2. Promote team spirit
Industrial era style management is outdated and should be avoided at all costs. People don’t want to be just given orders in today’s workplace. They want to feel the warmth and care around them.
To make sure people feel that way, promote team spirit and help make the workplace attractive to people. Creating that kind of environment will help promote healthy interpersonal relationships and make the entire organization thrive.
3. Make a difference
Compassionate leadership is about more than just doing good. It’s also important to foster caring environments where team members can become the best versions of themselves.
Research suggests one way that leaders improve employee wellbeing isn’t just through programs and initiatives. Rather, it’s done by taking small steps every day and making a difference in people’s lives, both professionally and personally.
4. Walk the talk
This may seem counterintuitive, but the most successful leaders are those who lead with a heart. Yes, I know, I felt the same way many years ago. How can you allow emotions ahead of logic? The answer is it depends. Think about it this way.
If you can inspire people through empowerment, they will believe in you. This will build trust and people will feel more comfortable around you. If you do what’s right, all the time. You will soon find out that you have an amazing organization that will support everyone along the way.
Leaders can develop compassion
If you want to be an effective leader, it’s important to have compassion for the people who work with you. Compassionate leaders are rare, but they make a big difference in the workplace.
They create a positive attitude, listen intently, invest time in their people, and create a collaborative culture. These behaviors not only make employees feel appreciated and valued but also help them grow professionally.
Leaders who show gratitude and promote team spirit can make a real difference in their organization.
How do you show compassion in your workplace? Let me know in the comments below!