5 Ways to Be a More Compassionate Leader

Man Cupping His Hands Protectively Over A Heart

Years ago, when I was working in a hospital setting, the poor management practices, and workplace stress created a team dynamic of confusion, competition, competitiveness, challenge and finger pointing. Regardless of our role in the organization, we all participated. Whether we were confronting another person or were being confronted, we all lacked a key component in successful relationships and team dynamics. We had lost our compassion – both for ourselves and for others.

When we lose our compassion, we become harsh, judgmental, angry, mistrustful, and may even act in passive aggressive ways. Can you relate to feeling and behaving in these ways?

Here are 5 things you can do to shift your perspective:

  1. Take time to self-reflect. How do you treat yourself when you make a choice that doesn’t great the results you hoped for? Or when you make a mistake? Beating yourself up for past mistakes keeps you stuck in judgment. Compassion starts at home. So ask yourself what’s my learning from this situation? What was right about my choice? What might I do differently next time? Celebrate your learning.
  2. Become aware of what is triggering you. Perhaps you are in a place of anger or mistrust about another person or situation. When you think of them and your past experiences, is there a pattern you are stuck in that you need (and deserve) to shift from? What’s the story you are telling yourself about these interactions? How might shifting your story enhance your compassion for the situation and the other person?
  3. Let go of judgment. Are you stuck viewing the situation with contempt or judgment? What might be motivating the other person to act this way? When we release judgment, we move into acceptance and compassion.
  4. Set boundaries. Are you clear about what you need from your team members? Have you clearly communicated it? Have you been enabling poor behaviour in another person because you’ve not had the clarity within yourself about what you need? Gain your clarity and then using compassion for yourself and the other person, share what you need.
  5. Be honest with the appropriate amount of caring. Do you feel sorry for the other person so won’t risk honesty? If so, you are limiting both yourself and the other person. Pity is not a compassionate place. We feel pity or sorry for another person when we view them as lacking ability to make change and from this place we can prevent their growth. Mix kindness and honesty and you will be sharing with compassion.

Compassion is the place where honesty, acceptance, boundaries intersect. Using compassion you will connect with others in a way that will create improved collaboration and commitment to your team.

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