In uncertain times such as we are currently living in – there is a temptation as leaders to look to control. The uncertainty raises the monster that is fear in our hearts and drives us to make poor decisions with unhelpful consequences. Is there an alternative? I think there is. In a world with the challenges you currently face, people need a compassionate leader.
Even as I write this, in the back of my mind is that many of you will think this is just another way of saying soft, fluffy leadership. My hope today is to challenge your thinking and ask you if you are willing to look at this differently?
You see, being a compassionate leader is not for everyone because it will require great courage to pull it off. It is not for the timid – the path of fear is the easy route; to be demanding, controlling requires no thought at all. If you want a different kind of leadership, one that leads to an environment of creativity, innovation, and greater productivity, then read on.
How you show up as a leader will dictate how those you lead will tackle the many changes happening right now in the workplace. Let me challenge you in whatever leadership capacity you find yourself to show up authentically and let those you lead and work alongside see you. I have found Brené Brown’s research and comments in this area really challenging, here is one of her quotes to try on for size:
“We desperately need more leaders who are committed to courageous, wholehearted leadership and who are self-aware enough to lead from their hearts, rather than unevolved leaders who lead from hurt and fear.”
Compassionate leaders are courageous leaders who choose to fight for the highest good of those they lead, to be themselves, and do the hard work of knowing themselves to lead themselves. When you make visible the way you are hard wired then you can do the work of thinking into how you will behave and act to achieve a reality in which your team can thrive.
Are you up for it?
To ditch fear and its control over you and the way you lead here are a few hacks you can lean into:
- Make your tendencies visible – use one of the many psychometric assessments available. When you know yourself, it is much easier to lead yourself. To lead well you need to understand what it is like to be on the other side of your leadership.
- Commit to being yourself. Gen Z and millennials want you to be authentic, wrestle with the uncertainty and lead people through it.
- Resist the urge to control. The best form of leadership is by influence. Be the kind of leader people want to follow. It takes more effort but the rewards for you and those you lead far outweigh this.
- Example the behaviour you want to see. What you measure is what you care about. Catch people doing the right things and reward that.
All this to say compassionate leadership is not about tolerating incompetence or toxic behaviour – not dealing with these issues leads to low team morale. It is about having the courage to take risks and lean into different ways of doing things. Empowering those you lead and equipping them with the right tools to do the job. Focus on the result not people doing things the way you would do them.
“The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.” John Maxwell
Leading from fear is exhausting, it demands too much of you. You were not designed to operate out of fear. Will you try a new way?
It can seem daunting. Give me a call, I would love to explore together how you can be a compassionate leader.