← back


Why Your Business Needs Compassionate Leaders?

July 11, 2022, 5-min. read
Compassionate leader

One of the most effective and time-proven ways to battle disruption and a lack of harmony in the workplace is through compassionate leadership - an employee- and process-centric choice to elevate empathy, caring, active listening and positive leadership mindsets.

What is compassionate leadership?

“The ability to take yourself, individuals, teams and organizations to a higher level of performance and well-being in a safe and stimulating way when tensions occur.” - The Compassionate Leader.

Compassion is best described as active empathy: it’s the experiential shift in behaviors and actions that encourages people not only to relate and empathize with another person’s emotions or situations but to actively want to help that person or situation.

FREE EBOOK The Leadership Renaissance

What are some examples of compassionate Leadership?

“With compassion, we take a step away from the emotion of empathy and ask ourselves ‘how can we help?’” - Forbes.

Every industry and job sector has different pressures, responsibilities, team dynamics and expectations which, to a large degree, affect how compassion manifests.

The empathic differences between, for example, a healthcare team on a ward in a hospital and a team of chefs at a banquet are clear and obvious. However, there are commonalities within leadership mindsets and behaviors that work across all industries, irrelevant of job particulars.

Public health body Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) put together what we think is a concise and effective guide on compassionate leadership that works across all industries, titled The Four Pillars of Compassionate Leadership.

In summary, are 4 required leadership elements to create compassion in the workplace:

  • Effective Leadership - the establishment of company vision and direction.
  • Inclusive Leadership - the positive valuing of inclusive working cultures and leadership
  • Collective Leadership - the sharing of responsibility and interdependent thinking
  • Systems Leadership - positive conflict management, support across teams and borders.

What Are Some Examples Of Compassionate Leadership?

Taking the above 4 pillars into consideration, compassion leaders are:

  • Active listeners - they take a mindful approach to understanding their teams and create cultures of responsibility sharing that create trust and open communication.
  • Servant leaders - compassion is empathy, made real. So compassionate leadership means elevating a team's needs above the needs of management and making sure every team member has what they need, both physical and mental, to get the job done and remain happy and engaged.
Internal Social Network by LutherOne

Never miss a LutherOne article or e-Book: SUBSCRIBE

 What tips or hints should leaders always remember when it comes to showing active empathy and compassion in the workplace?

Culture is tangible but malleable

Cultures of leadership and expectation management within workplaces are best viewed as cultural weather vanes, pointing team members and stakeholders in the right moral, mental and workplace direction.

But remember that workplace culture is fluid, constantly changing and shifting as new people start work, old staff members leave, your specific industry adapts, and your internal hierarchies change. This can happen in both positive and negative ways.

Good leadership is agile, which means good leaders have to display adaptable styles of compassionate leadership to meet the moment.

For example, Gen Z employees have different value systems than Gen X employees. To fully engage and inspire workforces to communicate with empathy, the onus on leaders is to adopt certain points of direction, communication, and leadership demands that meet the needs of those particular demographics. Again, we refer to Servant Leadership: where leaders put the needs and requirements of their teams first.
Employee Recognition & Appreciation with LutherOne

Compassionate leadership should never be siloed

A critical element of displaying compassion as a leader is making sure your other leaders within your company are empowered and expected to behave the same.

“When employees feel a lack of a commitment to compassionate leadership and intense pressure from leadership to perform above and beyond their capabilities, these feelings open the door to widespread disengagement”.

This quote, from Forbes council member and Career Transition Practice Leader Caroline Vernon in a piece titled Compassion As A Business Objective perfectly describes why compassionate leadership cannot be siloed to those at the very top.

Leaders cannot expect to be compassionately understood if the rest of the business matrix operates with a lack of empathy. Staff disengagement can pop up in an instant if certain behaviors and attitudes are not mirrored across the management spectrum - so consistency is key.

Compassion is more than positive interactions

As all of the above points indicate, compassion is more than simply showing personal empathy.

It’s a cross-departmental, cross-functional and full-spectrum business and organizational decision, and every person in your company has a responsibility to live by a code of compassion!

Try for free banner

Get the latest news straight into your e-mail