Our working lives have been turned upside down, and things aren’t going to start shifting back anytime soon. The Covid-19 pandemic has completely altered the landscape of the traditional 9-to-5, and so office workers of all types have traded in their commutes and cubicles for kitchen desks and virtual meetings. Unsurprisingly, this has led to many feeling unable to switch off at the end of the working day.
This new working from home culture hasn’t just had an impact on people’s work/life balances, though. In fact, the state of the economy right now is such that a lot of employees also feel insecure about whether they’ll be able to hold down their jobs, and many others have faced cuts to their pay and hours.
As someone in a leadership role, it is therefore your responsibility to manage your team with kindness and consideration, to help them (and you) get through the turbulence of these troubled times. The best way to do that is through compassionate leadership, which requires empathy, open communication, and the ability to admit mistakes.
Not only will people want to work with you if you lead with compassion, but you’ll also get the absolute best out of your employees if you put compassion first, even when times are tough. This will have a positive effect on both the leader and those being led – not to mention the organisation itself.
As the owner and CEO of two businesses, CEO Essence and Risk Integrity Safety Knowledge, INC, Transformational Leadership Coach René Murata knows a thing or two about guiding with both purpose and compassion. Working to encourage more women to speak out and take charge, she hopes to show that collaboration and cooperation definitely do have a place in decisive leadership. So why exactly is compassionate leadership in the workplace so effective, and how can you make it work for you?
Compassion creates stronger connections
Leading with compassion means recognising that everyone in your team is unique. They will have had different upbringings and different backgrounds, but at the end of the day they will be in the job for the same reasons as everyone else, to achieve security and fulfilment.
By always keeping that in mind, you’ll stay on the same wavelength as your employees, and that will make everything from delegating to difficult discussions that much easier.
Compassion will help you sense when a colleague is struggling
Empathy is a key component of compassion, which brings with it a natural ability to sense when someone is unhappy or frustrated. By getting a feel for when a person in your team is struggling, you give yourself the opportunity to strike up a conversation and find out what the problem is, how it can be resolved, and where to go from there.
Compassion can help resolve workplace conflict
Conflict is pretty much inevitable in any workplace, especially at a time like this when tensions are running high. But compassion is about leading with kindness, and when you do that, you will find that you are far more capable of de-escalating difficult situations without causing further problems.
Compassion prevents workplace discrimination
As a leader, your language, actions and even policies have the potential to cause upset. Sometimes, this is simply due to the nature of the boss/employee relationship and people’s satisfaction with their roles. But on other occasions, what you do and say can be discriminatory, either in a subtle, unintentional way, or overtly.
You should always seek to maintain an awareness of how you are addressing and acting towards your employees, and to see those words and actions through a compassionate lens. This will allow you to really start caring about how you interact with those in your team, and make changes where necessary to ensure that everyone feels valued.
Compassion allows you to learn from your mistakes
If you are compassionate, you will recognise that everybody makes mistakes, whether they are new to a role or one of the higher-ups. This attitude will help to take the pressure off those you are leading as well as yourself, and allow you all to learn from the mistakes that are made and move forwards together more easily and readily.