“The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.” ~Arthur H. Stainback
I spent a lot of my career in the business world working for someone as an employee. From the very beginning, I took great pride at being very professional. I was educated and programmed (yes, I said programmed), to always think and act like a “professional.” This was programmed through employee orientation where expectations were set of what behavior was valued, through observing other successful individuals in the company, and through evaluations where one was ranked one to five based on the category of “Professionalism.”
This was wonderful as it was made clear early on what the expectation was of one’s behavior.
This was not so wonderful as somewhere along the line the term “professional” also meant to rarely act or speak with emotion. That being “professional” meant being detached, cool, and aloof.
Somewhere along the line, I started to bring my feelings for others into the work environment and my ratings on “Professional” suddenly kept getting lower on that one to five scale.
Cracking that shell, I found that being human in leadership is valued by those you lead. After all, aren’t we all just human beings helping each other by being human?
“Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.” ~Henry Ward Beecher
Here are a few ways to bring more compassion into your work.
- Assume others have the best intentions.
- Demonstrate that you feel deeply and care a lot.
- Never underestimate the power of listening and being present to another person. Sometimes, just being there matters more than you will ever know. Aren’t there times when all you want to do is have someone to listen so you can hear yourself talk through a difficult time?
- Have some compassionate stories ready to relay when you are talking to people. Let them see how you show compassion in your life.
- Include in your company/department values that you value people as human beings, not just as employees.
- Understand what makes others tick. What motivates them. When you know this you know how to be compassionate.
- Be of service to other’s needs. Don’t know how to do this? Simply ask “How can I help you?” After the other’s look of surprise, you will be told. Carry through.
“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” ~Frederick Buechner
Step into leading and play a Bigger Game in your life… don’t wait… model leadership… the World needs us to do this.