Skip to main content

Compassionate Leadership: How To Do Hard Things In A Human Way

“Being human and doing what needs to be done are not mutually exclusive. In truth, doing hard things and making difficult decisions is often the most compassionate thing to do,” explain the authors of the timely and compelling new book, Compassionate Leadership: How to Do Hard Things in a Human Way.

Whether you are a seasoned leader or new in your leadership role, add this book to your list of must-read books during 2022.

Authors Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter, explain that:

Compassion is the intention to be of benefit to others. Compassion is not about pleasing others and giving them what they want. For example, compassion can be tough and direct, such as addressing another person’s behavior if it is out of line. But it is done with the intention that helping them change will ultimately lead to better outcomes for everyone.

Also, Hougaard and Carter share that empathy and compassion are different from each other. “The two terms differ in that empathy is an emotion, and compassion is an intention. Empathy is when we see someone suffer, take on the suffering they experience, and suffer together with them. But compassion is different. Compassion is to take a step away from empathy and ask ourselves what we can do to support the person who is suffering. In this way, compassion is an intention.

Specifically for this new book, the authors interviewed 350 executives and in addition to the qualitative interviews, they collected quantitative data from 15,000 leaders and 150,000 employees from more than 5,000 companies in nearly 100 countries.

Their extensive research shows that there are four skill sets needed for a leader to operate with wise compassion when doing hard things. The four components of the Wise Compassion Flywheel are:

  • Caring presence – “Be here now”
  • Caring courage – “Courage over comfort”
  • Caring candor – “Direct is faster”
  • Caring transparency – “Clarity is kindness”

Within the book, you will discover:

  • How to unlearn management and relearn being human.
  • Why busyness kills your heart.
  • How to connect with empathy and lead with compassion.

Wondering how to unlearn management and relearn being human? The authors recommend you:

  • Remember the Golden Rule
  • Put yourself in their shoes.
  • Listen intensively.
  • Always give more than you take.
  • Ask yourself, How can I be of benefit?
  • Stretch people to help them see their greater potential.
  • Help people to see what they really need to be happy.

“Becoming a wise and compassionate leader is a challenging but deeply rewarding process,” explain the authors. “It is an an experience of personal and professional transformation. And, it is a lifelong journey.”

 

Rasmus Hougaard

 

 Jacqueline Carter

Question to the Authors: How might a person brand new in their leadership position use the book differently from a leader who has been in his/her role for some time? 

Hougaard and Carter: Someone brand new in their leadership role has a fantastic opportunity to use this book as a guide to set them on a path of becoming a wise and compassionate leader. This is quite different from someone with more experience who may need to unlearn old habits and ways of working to relearn being more human. Our wish is someone just starting in their leadership journey is inspired by key concepts in the book like “connect with empathy but lead with compassion” and “avoid the busyness trap.” We recommend that they take time reading each chapter and developing a vision for what kind of leader they want to be. 

In addition, our Wise Compassion flywheel provides a framework for leaders at any stage in their career to go through a cycle of continuous learning and development. This enables a new leader to start with the essentials and move through the cycle to do “hard things” in a more “human way” and learn from their experience. 

We have tried to make these steps and strategies relevant for someone new in their role as well as someone with more experience. At the same, a new leader would benefit from seeking input from a mentor or a coach before engaging in a “hard thing.” A new leader would also be wise to be humble about their success and be sure to get feedback from others to support their ongoing learning.  

Finally, some of my favorite takeaways for leaders from the book include: 

Clarity, kindness, and transparency enable trust. Trust enables people to work together and work through hardships. If people know you care about them and have their backs, it will be a lot easier for them to hear a difficult message. If they know you will tell them things they need to hear and not hold back, they will have more confidence in you and in your leadership. 

As leaders, when we demonstrate courage and reward others for courageous acts, we create a culture that values courageous confrontations and accountability. When you create this type of environment, people can be more creative, and you create more space for greater accountability and higher performance. 

Wise compassionate leadership is to have respectful and caring confrontations with others. We can only master this when we are caring and respectful of ourselves, and when we have self-compassion and self-confidence. This means knowing what you stand for and what is important to you and learning to manage your own inner limitations. 

Thank you to the book’s publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

6 Ways To Seek Feedback To Improve Your Performance In The Workplace

Getting feedback is an important way to improve performance at work. But sometimes, it can be hard to seek out, and even harder to hear.  “Feedback is all around you. Your job is to find it, both through asking directly and observing it,” says David L. Van Rooy, author of the new book,  Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be . As today's guest post, Van Rooy offers these  six tips for how to get the feedback you need to improve performance at work . Guest Post By David L. Van Rooy 1.       Don’t forget to as k :  One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming things are going perfectly (until they make a catastrophic mistake). By not asking, you’re missing out on opportunities for deep feedback: the difficult, critical feedback that gives you constructive ways to improve. 2.       Make sure you listen :  Remember, getting feedback is about improving your performance, not turning it into a “you versus the

Sample Of Solid Business Guiding Principles

I really like these  10 guiding business principles  that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA has lived by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them. Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book,  1001 Ways To Energize Employee s .

Effective Listening: Do's And Don'ts

Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability .  They are all about: what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener : Do : Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile) Ignore distractions Don't : Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

Good Sample Business Principles

I really like these 10 guiding business principles that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA  lives by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them.  Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees .

Important Questions To Ask New Hires

   In  Paul Falcone ’s book,  75 Ways For Managers To Hire, Develop And Keep Great Employees , he recommends asking new employees the following questions 30, 60 and 90 days after they were hired:   30-Day One-on-One Follow-Up Questions Why do you think we selected you as an employee? What do you like about the job and the organization so far? What’s been going well? What are the highlights of your experiences so far? Why? Tell me what you don’t understand about your job and about our organization now that you’ve had a month to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Have you faced any unforeseen surprises since joining us that you weren’t expecting?   60-Day One-on-One Follow-Up Questions Do you have enough, too much or too little time to do your work? Do you have access to the appropriate tools and resources? Do you feel you have been sufficiently trained in all aspects of your job to perform at a high level? How do you see your job relating to the organization’s mission and vi

How To Coach Employees Rather Than Supervising Them

Bill Berman  and  George Bradt , authors of the book,  Influence and Impact , explain the importance of helping your employees to understand what their jobs entails, and what the culture expects, so they can do the work you need from them the most.  More importantly, they say that it is better for you as a leader to  coach employees rather than supervise  them. And, as you coach, they recommend you:  Ensure the employee fully understands their job responsibilities. Pave the way for the employee to be successful. Give them the time, resources and encouragement they will need. Help them know themselves better. Consider a personality assessment by a trained evaluator so they understand their styles and preferences. Help them know the business. Ensure they know the organization’s mission, vision and purpose, business strategies and cultural norms. Help them know you. Help them to really understand what you really need from them to make you and the organization successful. Help them know th

How Leaders Build Trust

You can't lead if your employees, team or followers don't trust you. Building trust takes  energy, effort and constant attention  to how you act. To help build trust, follow these 16 tips , recommended by author  Susan H. Shearouse : Be honest Keep commitments and keep your word Avoid surprises Be consistent with your mood Be your best Demonstrate respect Listen Communicate Speak with a positive intent Admit mistakes Be willing to hear feedback Maintain confidences Get to know others Practice empathy Seek input from others Say "thank you"

How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose And People

Jenn Lim   is the CEO Of Delivering Happiness, a company she and Tony Hsieh (the late CEO of Zappos.com) cofounded to create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business.  Lim ’s mission is to teach businesses how to create workplaces—led with happiness and humanity—that generate more profit, sustain all people at every level of the organizations, and share how we can make an impact by being true to our authentic selves.  It’s this mission that drove Lim to author her book,  Beyond Happiness, How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose And People For Growth And Impact .  Describing her book, Lim says, “No matter what role you have at your organization, this life-changing guide will enable you to get to the core of who you are, live with purpose through the work you do every day, and spread that power to others in your business and beyond.”   Jenn Lim   Recently, Lim shared these additional insights with us:  Question: What is "Beyond Happiness&q

Flashback: Best New Leadership Book Of 2019

Today's Flashback: A look back to 2019... Each year, after reading and reviewing dozens of new leadership books, I select my pick for the year's  best new leadership book . For 2019, that book is Paul Smith's,  The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell , released this past summer. I selected this book as best for its innovative format, timely and pertinent content, and how easy it is to put what Paul teaches to immediate use as a leader. All of Paul Smith’s three books on storytelling are must-reads for business leaders, salespeople and parents. And,  The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell , is yet another required read for leaders – managers, CEOs and team leaders. “ Every great leader is a great storyteller. And, the first and most important part of being a great storyteller is knowing what stories to tell ,” explains Paul. In fact, “ What stories you tell is more important than how you tell them ,” he adds. Part of an innovative book format from  IgniteReads , Paul’s new book feature

The Four Components That Create Customer Satisfaction

Great customer service tips from author Micah Solomon's new book, High-tech, High-touch Customer Service : You provide value when you deliver the four components that reliably create customer satisfaction : A perfect product or service Delivered in a caring, friendly manner On time (as defined by the customer) With the backing of an effective problem-resolution process Micah has been named by the Financial Post as “a new guru of customer service excellence.” He is a keynote speaker and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture.  He previously coauthored the bestselling Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit .