compassion leadership

Find more compassion for yourself, to be more compassionate with your team

leadership peace power self-awareness self-development Feb 02, 2022

 "Treat others as they want to be treated”.

The more popular quote is “treat others as you want to be treated". However, having different personality types means we will have different preferences. What brings us peace and a feeling of safety will vary for all.

This article covers why compassion is a skill worth mastering as a Leader to create a safe space for teams to open up about their real issues. This is a "must have" for the Leaders of the future, now. 

What is compassion? 

Compassion can be defined as concern for the suffering of others. It is different from empathy which is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Compassion involves more distance between us and the person we are concerned for. By staying detached and not getting absorbed by others’ emotions, we can keep the distance needed to stay objective and focus on actionable things to provide support.

When does compassion matters most? 

Compassion as I see it is the doorway to open honest conversations about how someone feels. Without caring understanding, people may feel judged and therefore won’t open up to their real issues.

Unfortunately, it is harder to access compassion when we are in an emotionally heightened negative state. This can happen quite a lot in Leadership where your neck is on the line if results are not delivered. When we have high stakes involved it can be very hard to stay neutral and not react to emotional triggers.  

"We can’t give to others what we can’t give to ourselves."

So, if we have a tendency to beat ourselves up when we are angry or made a mistake the likelihood is that when someone else makes a mistake or feel angry, we are more likely to be hard on them for it, because we tend to treat others as we treat ourselves. How we manage things, is our frame of reference of how we believe others “should” be.

This is subconscious and we are not aware of these patterns most of the time, but they are very real and have major implications of the kind of safe space we can provide for others.

How to be more compassionate? 

When I work with clients this concept doesn’t tend to be understood at an actionable level until I mirror back the lack of compassion a client may have towards themselves live in the moment. Only when I interrupt the negative self-talk to bring attention to that pattern, do clients tend to question how useful it is to beat oneself up! What is doing this really bringing me? How helpful is it really?  

There is never a good rational answer … and this is where shifts happen… where one may realise … I need to change how I speak to myself! This creates new self-awareness, and the good news is that we can’t undo self-awareness!

So next time you do it, you are more likely to notice it. Only then, can you choose to respond differently to your default inner dialogue.  A more helpful response would be: Hey I am beating myself up again, it isn’t helping… Stop!

Once we can notice we are being unkind to ourselves, only then can we make a conscious choice to stop it and choose to replace our narrative with kinder thoughts like …. Hey, I am doing the best I can … next time I’ll try again.

We can’t access clarity of thought from a negative emotion. So finding more compassion for ourselves helps us shift our emotional state from negative to positive which is far more productive in making decision and resolving problems.Simple to understand, harder to action as it involve re-wiring your subconscious patterns. 

Call To Action

Find more compassion for yourself to help others

By valuing the importance of being kinder to ourselves, we automatically create more space to find compassion for others without having to think about it.

So merely practicing this, will make you a more compassionate leader when you need to adopt a more supportive posture to help a team member. This will result in them opening up to you before as more trust gets built. 

Lauren Cartigny is an ICF certified professional coach and leadership trainer and the founder of The Self-Science Lab Ltd, a community of conscious professionals on a self-discovery journey to transform the quality of their work and home lives. 

Article Published on Lauren Cartigny's LinkedIn Profile on the 2 Feb 2022

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