Compassion: A Virtue of Great Leaders People Management Shepherding

There are 21 virtues we at Launch Leadership Development believe are essential for strong leadership. Compassion is one of these 21 virtues. Leading with compassion has a ripple effect throughout the organization and serves to build a culture of respect, loyalty, and kindness.

Today we will answer these questions to help us grow in leading with compassion:

  • How do we define compassion?
  • What does lead with compassion look like?

Defining Compassion

Compassion is related to love and empathy, yet distinct. Compassion is seeing a need in others and caring, often resulting in doing something kind for them.

  • The first step in compassion is Noticing. Our society, in general, has become less interested in other people around them, for many reasons. Technology monopolizes most people’s attention, even in groups.
  • Everyone has difficulties, whether it’s health problems, financial difficulties, relationship strain, loneliness, depression, anxiety, grief, stress, lack of purpose, self-hatred, or mental illness. Keeping this fact in the front of our mind when dealing with people is important.

What does leading with compassion look like?

Leaders create the culture of the workplace. Remember your employees are in your care. Some specific ways you can exhibit compassion include:

  • Treat people like whole human beings. Know something about their life outside of work. Check in with them about their lives.
  • Be open in talking about your mistakes so others feel comfortable knowing that they can admit their own mistakes without fear.  Let them show compassion for you! It humanizes the workplace.
  • Step in and offer support when you notice someone struggling. Don’t assume the person has family and friends that will help them. Often there may be no one in their life able to offer support.  Not that you should solve their problem, but just offer some kind of support that will ease their situation. This could be letting them have the afternoon off to deal with an issue, or to refer them to a professional who can help them.
  • Develop your team so they can become the best version of themselves. Improve their chances for promotion and raises by pointing them to professional development opportunities or providing growth opportunities. Help them grow and mature and thrive.
  • Be aware of your vocabulary. Words matter. If your team only hears words such as profit, market, competition, bottom line, and psychologically threatening statements, then it’s not a positive climate.
  • Cultivate compassion by action – make it a practice. Have an employees first philosophy. Treat people well, not like robots. When compassion is modeled, it becomes a ripple effect through your employees treating customers well.

The spectrum of compassion adds to your influence, and influence is a vital part of your leadership role.

-Jan Jones

To learn more about compassion in leadership, check out these videos that I used as references!

Leadership Lessons: The Importance of Compassionate Management – YouTube