Updated: Dec 6, 2022
The talents and skills most often associated with leadership come from the brain, like intelligence, decisiveness, vision, and strategic thinking. Those are terrific and important skills to have and learn, but they only get you halfway to becoming an excellent leader. To be an effective leader and one your team can trust requires you to lead with the brain and heart!
Leading with empathy is also known as compassionate leadership. To become a better leader, manager, or supervisor, consider practicing compassionate leadership.
In this article, Tabetha Sheaver will walk you through what compassionate leadership looks like and its place, as well as simple ways you can implement it, starting tomorrow!
What Compassionate Leadership Looks Like
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all experienced a life shift, and for some, it’s affected their work-life balance. COVID has changed the way many companies operate, creating a modern workplace.
In the modern workplace, we see more teams working remotely or on a hybrid model. With these shifts in work and personal lives, employees need more compassionate and flexible leaders.
Compassionate leadership is simply combing specific leadership skills with empathy and awareness. When team leaders and upper management put compassionate leadership into practice, they lead with their hearts and are aware of others' lives and experiences. Not only does this help build trust between leaders and their employees, but when leaders proactively create a culture of compassion and respect, leaders better understand each of their team member's unique skills and qualities.
Why Compassion Matters In The Work Place
Awareness of the unique life challenges each team member experiences can seem like a big task, but it’s as simple as checking in on a team member to see how they’re doing. Many managers and team leads will schedule monthly meetings with their employees to see how they’re doing, where they need assistance, and if they need anything from their manager. These check-ins allow leaders and employees to build a bond, and the employee will feel more comfortable opening up to their supervisor.
Being a leader is an amazing feeling, but it has its fair share of difficulties. To be a leader means making difficult decisions, like layoffs, giving tough feedback, and pushing agendas. A compassionate leader can give tough feedback and make hard decisions in a human and empathetic way.
It’s important to note that compassion does not equate to weakness–it’s leading with the heart, and when tough action is needed, leaders get it done by being aware of their team’s well-being and the company's health.
An important thing to note about compassionate leadership is that it’s not focused on short-term gratification but long-term.
Ways To Implement Compassion In Leadership
One of the best things about this leadership style is that it doesn’t require you to spend money; it requires leaders to develop self-awareness and compassion. When leaders can turn inwards, their ability to listen will improve.
Not all people are naturally compassionate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop that skill–compassion is a trainable skill. Our brains have an incredible ability to unlearn and learn new mental states.
We want to share a few ways to better incorporate compassion and self-awareness into your compassion practice and leadership styles.
Have More Empathy
When you have empathy for yourself, it’s easy to be more empathetic and compassionate toward others. To develop empathy, let go of self-criticism. If you’re constantly bashing yourself for past mistakes, it’s easy to carry that over to how you manage a team of people.
Often transparency in communication can be seen as blunt and not “friendly,” so people cover up transparency with being kind. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to provide guidance and feedback to underperforming team members–even when it’s difficult. Being transparent with your messaging allows team members to know where they need to improve. Leaders who cover up their transparency to be kind don’t help their team members grow. It’s misleading! Leaders can deliver transparent and candid communication in a friendly way that’s open and honest.
To be mindful is to be aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the present moment. Many people practice mindfulness through meditation and breathing exercises. Other mindfulness exercises can relax the brain and body. When you’re mindful of your actions, you can communicate your needs clearly, and provide feedback to your team members.
An easy way to develop compassion is by encouraging your team members. Work can be stressful, and many people doubt their ability to perform. As a leader, your team members are looking to you for encouragement. Tap into that by telling a team member how much you appreciate their hard work. Find those moments to compliment your team members.
Tabetha Sheaver and EOS® Help Leaders Build The Skills They’re Missing
Not everyone is born with the same traits, skills, and temperaments–we’re all unique and complex individuals. Just because you lack a skill, like compassion or time management, doesn’t mean you can’t learn those skills and excel in your roles.
When leaders and upper management find themselves coasting through their workday, it’s a sign they feel unchallenged and are heading in the direction of apathy. If you are heading that way, it’s time to call Tabetha Sheaver.
Tabetha Sheaver helps business owners and entrepreneurs implement EOS® Strategies to strengthen key components in their leadership style and business. The Entrepreneurial Operation System® (EOS) is a business model that is easy to implement and will help you and your organization garner success, get on the same page, and grow!
To learn more about the Entrepreneurial Operating System, set up a 15-minute intro call with Tabetha Sheaver.
Tabetha Sheaver is a CEO, certified EOS Implementer®, project management professional (PMI), and an award-winning business success partner. She helps CEOs regain control of their companies with organizational change management strategies. Helping entrepreneurial leadership teams to be open, honest, and healthy. Tabetha’s experience and insight have made her an in-demand public speaker and presenter nationwide.