Workplaces that have compassionate leaders benefit greatly. Employees are more intrinsically motivated in their role, they feel psychologically safe, and more collaboration between colleagues is likely to happen.
Central to compassionate leadership is relationships. This first begins with the relationship we have with ourselves. Leaders who are compassionate care for themselves and can model this to others. They know that as human beings we will make mistake and that learning can take place from these. When leaders are working in highly pressurised environments, it might be tempting to dilute compassion, but this is when it’s needed more.
There are four behaviours of compassionate leadership:
This means listening to someone and giving them full focus. This is a skill and if it’s an area that you feel less developed in, look for opportunities to practice, listening to the frustrations, joy, and challenges faced by those you lead.
This focuses on understanding the situation that someone is struggling with. Their view, beliefs and attitudes might differ from your own. The objective isn’t to coax them round to your way of thinking but to create a space where they feel heard, supported, and understood.
To empathise with another requires us to connect with a part of ourselves that can relate to feelings of emotional pain. We require a level of self-awareness, to not become overwhelmed by the emotions of others but can connect with the other person and be supportive. Check out ‘Building Self-Awareness’.
This requires action to support individuals and teams to be able to do the best job they can, by removing barriers, such as excessive workload, and providing them with the necessary resources to do their job.
When staff are led by compassionate leaders, they have lower levels of stress, increased engagement, and satisfaction in their work. Consequently, they are more productive and are likely to stay in their role.