Who comes to mind when you think about well-known leaders?
Coaches, bosses, and military officers are the first for me.
Now, think about the stereotypical characteristics that they demonstrate. Most of them are strong-willed, over-confident, even gruff in their demeanor.
I recognize that this is not what every leader is like, but these are the labels that many leaders from our recent past have embraced and demonstrated. We live in an ever-changing world. Every generation responds differently to various leadership styles. As an executive coach and leadership trainer, I come across leaders with all sorts of characteristics. However, one characteristic that is often overlooked by some of the best-known leaders our world has today is COMPASSION.
Compassion may not be a leadership quality that most of us think of immediately, but please hear me out. While it is wise to maintain professional boundaries, we also need to consider the human element of leadership. We are leading people after all!
I recently had a leader tell me that one of his employees recommended that he check in on another employee’s personal life. He initially pushed back, but later realized that this employee’s home life could be the cause of recent uncharacteristically poor job performance. Once he checked in, he found out that there were some personal struggles going on and it was affecting this employee’s state of mind and, therefore, his performance at work.
As leaders, it’s vital to remember that followers are holistic people. They bring their home life to work and take their work issues home with them. As much as they may try to avoid it, both aspects of their lives affect the other. To ignore this reality is foolish and detrimental. If you will consider the humanity of your followers, you can connect with them on an entirely different level. You can build trust and respect like never before. They will listen to you more and better. You will simply have a greater influence on them.
Take a few minutes to consider how compassionate you are towards your followers.
Are you doing well?
What areas could improve?
Do they know that you care about them as human beings, not just followers?
What could you do better to show them that you value them?
What actions will you commit to taking today to be a more compassionate leader?
Compassion doesn’t make you a weak leader. In fact, it makes you stronger because you are making daily intentional choices to put others’ needs ahead of your own. That requires discipline and restraint.
We can all become better leaders. Let’s add compassion to our toolbox and work on transforming our workplaces – even our world.
You’ve got this!
I believe in you.
Go make it happen today!