June 26, 2024


….As Getting Business Right

How to be a Compassionate Leader

4 min read
Woman developing leadership skills

Successful companies know the importance of leadership to drive talent, energy, and productivity within the business. Developing leadership skills is essential, and is typically part of the annual budget in order to learn the skills necessary for managers to be strong and impactful leaders. While being a leader holds a lot of responsibilities that involve putting the company’s vision in operation, some other attributes include courage, humility, focus, ability to work with a team, positivity, and most importantly, integrity. But all of these would not be possible if the leader is not compassionate.

According to Grobidz, a B2B platform that brings service seekers to businesses, a 2012 study proved that compassionate leaders are stronger and more effective in leading people. 1,000 leaders from 800 organizations participated in the survey in which 91% agreed that compassion is an ultimate backbone of leadership, and 80% are willing to be more compassionate but did not have know-how. Training in leadership and online leadership courses are available to teach you the fundamentals of leading with compassion. 

It seems that the only way to respond to this is to infuse compassion into leadership and apply it to daily operations. 

What is compassion and how does it affect productivity?

Put simple, compassion is caring for others. This usually is resonated through empathy. Empathy is having the capacity to feel for somebody or another being, you are capable of placing yourself in another’s position, status, or experience in order to feel how they are feeling. Empathy relates to love, and love is what drives many of us.

Feelings of love, being happy, remaining content, and feeling satisfied, can all make your brain release dopamine. Dopamine makes you driven more than ever, according to Business Insider. These qualities actually promote productivity, strength, and capacity, and should be considered valued qualities of every professional leader.

What is a compassionate leader?

Being compassionate means genuinely understanding other peoples’ feelings, and their struggles. For example, US President Abraham Lincoln was compassionate enough to free the slaves from the Southern States. He went on to be one of America’s most celebrated leaders.

Florence Nightingale was the only person during the Crimean war who had bravely looked out for the wounded soldiers’ sake at night with her lamp. Because of her efforts in putting what she had learned in math, sanitation, statistics, religion, and architecture to come up with a holistic approach in taking care of them, she became the first nurse.

During Lady Gaga’s speech receiving her first Oscar award, she mentioned what drove her was the person who believed in her most, her leader Bradley Cooper who directed the film. The song won so many awards and the film was a hit beyond imagination.   

From these examples, a compassionate leader is one who empowers you to understand yourself and others more deeply. It’s somebody who leads from within, inspiring and encouraging you to be at your best. They don’t just allow you to develop your skills, but also your attitude, your perception of situations and people, and of opportunities. It impacts your decision-making skills and can improve them. 

Here are ways to be a compassionate leader:

  1. Respect your team members, and explore how they can contribute to the operation, even without the formal qualifications for a particular responsibility or task. Passion is usually the driver of success. Know that education is not the only consideration. There’s experience, maturity, and length of service too. Remember one of Bruce Lee’s mantras that goes, “I fear not the person who knows 10,000 kicks, but I fear one who has done a kick 10,000 times.”
  2. Live by example. Live within the values that you set them to develop. There’s a reason why you’re the leader. Being a good example for your group in terms of habits, priorities, and purpose is as important as your actual job description. Integrity is the name of the game. 2. 3
  3. Teach them the worth of your time. And it’s not the worth in terms of money that we’re referring too. It’s the worth of what you exchange time for. For example time with your family. To go to work and earn some money, that is taking away time from what you love doing or time away from your family and loved ones. Make sure it’s not wasted.
  4. Delegate. Delegation isn’t just about giving them assignments, it’s also about allowing them to practise decision-making skills, being in charge for a day, and to develop a professional voice of their own. Give them necessary feedback and credit for a job well done. And if they need improvement in some areas of the assignment, communicate effectively.
  5. Act on empathy. See your team members as equals in terms of dealing with family, death, and unfortunate events, as well as opportunities. Your skills as a leader include training people to work with their colleagues in show empathy too. Teach them to value the importance of communication, transparency, and giving due respect. 

At the end of the day, an employee or a teammate will never forget the way you treat them. When you lead with compassion, you are giving the people a reason to treat their work with integrity. Since you allow them to express themselves, or an opinion, they won’t hesitate to speak up if they see something wrong, helping you to avoid errors or committing wrongdoing. You earn their respect and that’s the main reason they will follow you.

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