Importance of Compassion in Leadership

It has been researched that many leaders refrain from showing compassion at their work place. There are multiple reasons due to which they do so, discussing some of these below:

  • Showing compassion would mean agreement with the subordinates: Many people think that being compassionate would mean that they are agreeing with whatever have been done by subordinates, which is not true. One can always be compassionate and simultaneously not defend the performance of the subordinate. An effective leader can always make statements like “I think u have landed in a real hard situation because of yourself, still I feel for you. Good luck.”
  • Being compassionate means you cannot hold people accountable:This is wrong thinking. You can be compassionate and simultaneously you can hold others accountable for not meeting the high expectations set on them. An effective leader should ambiguously sketch the expectations from the followers in terms of their behaviour, conclusions and effect. Recurring assessments should be done. It should be ensured that the followers understand the expectations set on them.
  • Being compassionate means falling into the trap of caterpillars: Being compassionate doesn’t mean that you are responsible for other person’s feelings. Sometimes you need to just listen effectively, put across your concern for the persons, and possibly assist them in discovering solutions for non work issues. Being compassionate means you are not only supporting your organization and your followers but you are also helping yourself.
  • Sometimes leaders show compassion only towards appropriate and zero error people, which is not correct. Compassion should be shown to all people who work with you, are ready to act efficiently and who look towards you for support when they land in trouble. Even if they are stuck in some bad situation, an effective leader should try to respond and show compassion to them.
  • Being compassionate can encourage healthy relationships as well as can ensure a more empathetic work environment. Compassionate leaders always put others needs before their own. They create a tuning with others thoughts and feelings. But the problem is during the process of stress releasing, leaders themselves go into stress as unavoidable result of leading. But effective leaders know how to handle the stress created at workplace. Fact is that compassion should be firstly created and found within, only then it can be shown to others.

Thus, effective leaders should be compassionate. They should ensure clear and transparent communication with the employees and clients. They should set an example for others. They should ensure expression of their emotions both precisely and candidly.

An effective and compassionate leader should keep in mind the effect of his words and statements on others. He/She should deal with their emotions very efficiently and optimistically. He/She should leave rigidity and try to be flexible. This is because being compassionate leads to positivity in the organization. It also encourages healthy relationships. It boost up the energy levels of people within the organization aswell as ensures flexibility. It offsets the adverse reactions of favouritism and bias.

To conclude, compassionate leaders are effective leaders. A leader possessing compassion trait will always be optimistic. He would be sensible enough, i. e., he would be conscious about his own feelings, about impact of his words on the followers and he would be focussed on others needs and feelings. He would be very much responsive and would show empathy to others. Compassionate leaders are in fair situation of dealing with crisis, encourage followers to better actions and are effective and efficient communicators.