The Lost Art of Compassion

Compassion word on arrows connecting people to show sympathy, em

It’s been said time and time again, people don’t leave companies they leave bad managers. This is one of the top reasons that people quit their jobs. So why do we continue to engage in uncompassionate business practices? Some managers just “don’t get it” – they devalue the so called “soft skills” of communication, team dynamics and compassion for others. Perhaps these managers get stuck in the belief “people need to be challenged to succeed.”  While this has some merit it needs to be balanced with equal doses of compassion.

I’m not talking about becoming a marshmallow who pads the difficult times for people. A good leader is able to communicate effectively, understand their employee’s strengths and struggles as well as offering support and suggestions to assist through challenges.

What I’m suggesting is that taking the time to sit with employees, listen to what makes them spark and work even harder and what causes them to become de-motivated in their work. Knowing this information if that person goes through a rough time, be it from a work issue or personal issue, you can use your compassion to assist your employee to work through the struggle.

Remember a time when you were stressed, how did you get through it? From people demanding results from you or from receiving quality support and encouragement? Most individuals grow when they are supported by a balance of kindness and accountability.

Using empathy statements to enable your direct report to know that you understand where they are coming from while asking in a compassionate way “What do you need to assist you through this task?” or “When will you be able to deliver on this given your current situation?” will allow you employee to know you are willing to work with them as well as expecting results.

Starting with understanding your employees and offering kindness and compassion will not only assist them through challenges, but will also result in team members who will go above and beyond to support you. Encourage your team members to use compassion with each other will also give dividends.

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