When it comes to business, it’s all about the bottom line. Right? Wrong. In fact, a growing number of studies suggest that compassion is key to success. What is compassion, you ask? It’s the ability to feel and show empathy for others – in other words, putting yourself in their shoes. And it turns out that being a compassionate leader can motivate your team in ways that traditional authoritarian styles never could. So how can you cultivate this precious quality and use it to achieve your goals? Read on for tips.
What Is Compassionate Leadership?
The first step to adding more empathy to your management style is understanding what compassionate leadership really is and why it matters. As we said, it’s the ability to genuinely feel for others and care for their demands, needs and well-being. But it also goes beyond that. Compassionate leaders are also able to create an environment in which their team members feel valued, appreciated, and respected. This kind of positive reinforcement can go a long way in terms of motivation.
Of course, it’s not always easy to be compassionate. In fact, sometimes it can be downright difficult – especially when you’re dealing with challenging situations at work. However, the good news is that there are ways to develop this skill.
Compassionate leadership is the new standard in business management. Modern-day leaders who wish to navigate their people and organizations toward long-term success must embrace its practices. We live in a world where compassion is no longer seen as a deficiency. In fact, some claim it is the future of business.
If you want to be a successful leader today, you must show your team members that you care about them and appreciate the individual skills they bring to the table. With the competitive and abundant job market and ‘the Great Resignation’, it is now more important than ever to have a good understanding of your employees’ needs and circumstances from the beginning of your communication.
Pillars of Compassionate Leadership
There are three main pillars that every compassionate leader should uphold:
This is probably the most important pillar of compassionate leadership. It’s all about being true to yourself. If you’re not comfortable with who you are, your team will sense it – and they won’t respect you.
As a leader, you need to be open and honest with your team. This means being transparent about both the good and the bad. If something goes wrong, don’t try to sweep it under the rug – own up to it, and work together to find a solution.
3. Emotional Intelligence
This is the ability to be aware of and understand your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It’s an important quality for any leader, but it’s especially important for those who want to practice compassionate leadership. After all, how can you be compassionate if you don’t understand what others are feeling?
If you can uphold these three pillars, you’re well on your way to becoming a compassionate leader. But remember, it’s not enough to just have the right intentions – you also need to put in the work. So how do you do that?
14 Ways to Practise Compassionate Leadership to Motivate Your Team
There’s a reason why the saying goes “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” When it comes to motivation, nothing is more important than the leader’s ability to inspire their team. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to practice compassionate leadership that can help you achieve this goal. By creating a supportive and positive environment, your team will be more likely to be motivated and productive. Here is what you can do.
1. Make an effort to get to know your team members on a personal level
This can be as simple as having regular one-on-one conversations or asking about their weekend plans. The more you know about them as people, the easier it will be to empathize with them.
2. Put yourself in their shoes
It can be helpful to try and see things from your team members’ perspectives. When you’re able to do that, it’s much easier to understand their needs and concerns.
3. Be open and honest
As we mentioned before, it’s important to be transparent with your team. If something goes wrong, don’t try to hide it – be upfront about it, and work together to find a solution.
4. Be a good listener
Listening is an important part of being compassionate. When you really listen to someone, it shows that you care about what they have to say.
5. Show appreciation
One way to show your team members that you care about them is to express your appreciation for their hard work. A simple “thank you” can go a long way. More than 35% of employees state they need more recognition for their efforts at work so make sure you demonstrate your appreciation – this will inspire them to keep doing their best!
6. Be patient
It’s fine, if things don’t always go as planned. What matters is how you handle it when things do go off the rails. So take a deep breath and be patient – your team will appreciate it.
7. Offer help
If you see someone struggling, offer to help. It may be just a simple act of kindness, which can actually make a big difference.
8. Be respectful
This one should go without saying, but it’s important to remember that everyone deserves to be treated with respect – no matter their position on the totem pole.
9. Encourage open communication
Motivate your team members to come to you with any concerns or problems they might have. The sooner you know about a problem, the sooner you can work together to solve it.
10. Seek out their feedback and act on it
One of the best ways to show your team that you care about them is to seek out their feedback and act on it. This shows that you value their input and that you’re willing to make changes based on what they say. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
11. Be open to change
Change can be difficult, but it’s often necessary. If you’re open to making changes in the way you do things, it shows your team that you’re willing to adapt – and that you care about their needs.
12. Be there for them
When your team members need you, be there for them. Whether they need some assistance with a project or just someone to talk to, let them know that you’re there for them. As a result, you boost trust and rapport in your team.
13. Promote a healthy work-life balance
Nobody can be expected to work all the time, and burnout is a real concern. In fact, a staggering 77% of employees have experienced it at least once at their current jobs! So, promote a healthy work-life balance for your team. This means encouraging them to take breaks, step away from their work when they need to, and not work excessive hours.
14. Practice what you preach
Remember that actions speak louder than words. So if you want your team to be compassionate, you need to lead by example.
Compassionate leadership is a powerful tool for motivating your team. By being authentic, transparent, and emotionally intelligent, you create an environment where people feel appreciated and respected. They will be more likely to give their best effort when they know that their leader cares about them as individuals. Have you tried any of these techniques to practise compassionate leadership? If so, please share your experience in the CEO Hangout Slack community today!