How to Foster Compassion at Work Through Compassionate Leadership leading up to International Day of Peace
International Day of Peace falls on Tuesday, September 21 this year.
Organised by the United Nations General Assembly, this year’s theme is ‘recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.’ One of the ways it wants the world to devote itself to strengthen the ideals of peace is by observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
It also refers to individuals and how they have coped over the past year or so with the pandemic. One of the ways to help each other is through compassion at work.
Doing so, from the top down i.e. via leadership can also result in a healthier, more stable and far more productive workplace than a culture that is rigid and dictatorial. A compassionate work culture, HR experts argue, is the kind of workplace that tends to retain staff.
Admittedly, compassion is an innate human trait and we all act differently in how we choose to display kindness to others, but exhibiting certain behaviours can foster it. These include:
Slowing down. Take a look at what the team is doing and check out the ambience. Is it good? Or is something about to erupt?
Empathise daily. This can be tiring and even stressful, but it’s the only way to move forward in terms of being compassionate
Keep on asking. Communicating helps you learn how others see the world.
Be willing to change. The changes don’t have to be big to be effective. But they can make a difference to others. It can also mean leaving your comfort zone – which isn’t a bad thing.
@CarleyHauck of the website MindfulOnline says: “Studies show that when distressed employees received acts of compassion like emotional support, time off from work, or flowers, they demonstrated more positive emotions such as joy and contentment, and had greater commitment toward their workplace organization.”
The 3 pillars
So, how can leaders show compassion at work? Well, Tibetan Buddhist scholar Thupten Jinpa came up with three core pillars of compassionate leadership. These are Cognitive, Affective and Motivational:
This involves a readiness to connect and support via clear thinking, lack of prejudice and openness to other viewpoints.
This is all about being ‘emotionally aware’ of how staff are feeling. That means being able to spot when someone is upset and to acknowledge it.
A motivational leader allows positive energy to flow both from her or him to staff and vice versa. The focus of the leader should be ‘we’ rather than ‘I’.
Traits of a compassionate leader
A compassionate leader is there to influence their team rather than dictate to them. They are the type of person who loves and feels passionate about their work. They are also committed to those who work for, and with, them.
As well as supporting and guiding their team, they are also:
- Good at accepting feedback, as well as their own limitations.
- Approachable, quickly contactable and easy to talk to
- Equipped with a sound ethical code, respect values and encourage good morals
- Solution-focused rather than critical and blaming individual staff or the team as a whole