How do compassionate leadership skills impact our work culture and the commitment of our employees to the organization?
As I was reading through a variety of articles one morning, the following line jumped off the page at me:
“When you lose a good employee, you lose part of your culture.”
I was not sure how to react to this when I first read it. Part of me was like, “I’m not sure I agree with that,” but as I gave it some more thought, it resonated with me as more fact than fiction.
I have been employed by mostly large organizations throughout my career but whether a large, multi-national organization or a “mom and pop” shop, it’s true that when good employees leave they sometimes leave a void that is hard to fill.
As I dug a little deeper into this, I could not help but think of those individuals I have looked up to for their leadership skills, but more importantly for their skills in treating each person they encountered with respect, dignity and compassion.
Traits of a Compassionate Leader
How do our leadership skills and abilities affect our work culture and ultimately, how does it impact our employees and whether they are committed to the organization?
I believe we need to instill in every person the ability to lead with compassion. We need to give the leeway to our leaders and staff to put aside deadlines, budgets, stockholder commitments so that they can mentor, coach, and lead by getting to know each other at a deeper level.
Does this mean that we need to have everyone open up about every little thing going on in their life? Absolutely not. What it does mean though is that we must make the time in case that is exactly what they want to do. That is where compassionate leadership comes into focus.
What are the traits of a compassionate leader?
- A compassionate leader is aware of their own faults and shortcomings and is quick to overlook someone else’s shortcomings and faults.
- A compassionate leader goes out of their way to help another, regardless of the situation or the circumstances that they may find themselves in.
- A compassionate leader is generous with their time, talent, and emotional energy.
What can you recognize in someone that shows they are a compassionate leader or have the requisite skills to become a compassionate leader? You will typically hear them ask questions or make statements such as:
- How do you feel?
- That must be hard.
- I’m sorry you experienced this hurt.
- How can I help?
- Please forgive me. I forgive you.
- What can we learn from this?
As I thought about my own leadership journey, I always looked to put the needs of others first. To understand people not just as team members or project members but as people, no different than you and I.
Sure, we may come from different backgrounds, have different viewpoints, dress differently, speak with a dialect that we are not used to, but in the end, we are all dealing with work, family, and life issues. So we must treat others with care.
Compassion Needs To Be Our Culture
If we begin to instill or continue this type of leadership culture within our organization, during our projects, or at our team meetings, we will begin to see a difference in those we work with daily.
Those times that seem to be filled with stress because of new requirements, limited budgets, few resources, you name it, can be managed more effectively if everyone is exhibiting compassionate leadership.
This can also be extended to the clients that we work with and those within their organization. By using compassionate leadership, we can help to “pay it forward” and help to change the culture of our own organizations as well as those whom we partner with. A leader who extends extra compassion has a higher probability of receiving extra compassion.
When we work and live within this type of culture, we will not need to worry about losing employees and with it, part of our company culture.
That is because those employees are part of a culture where they are not seen just as “worker bees” but as respected, trusted advisors who, through their compassionate collaboration with one another, will always want to be a part of the culture they helped to develop.
As the great poet and activist, Maya Angelou once said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”