Compassionate Leader

Compassionate leadership is a style of leadership that emphasizes empathy, kindness, and a genuine concern for the well-being of team members. It is important because it creates a positive work environment, encourages collaboration and engagement, and ultimately leads to better productivity and success. As a leader, you can incorporate more compassion into your team by actively listening to your team members, expressing gratitude and appreciation, providing support and encouragement, and setting a positive tone through your own actions and behaviour. By fostering a culture of compassion, you can build stronger relationships with your team, increase morale, and achieve better results.

What is compassionate leadership?

Compassionate leadership is an approach to leadership that prioritizes understanding and empathy towards team members, particularly during challenging times. It is a leadership style that is characterized by the ability to connect with team members on an emotional level, communicate effectively, and provide a supportive environment where team members feel valued, appreciated, and respected.

Why practice compassionate leadership?

There are a lot of changes happening in the University, with many APSA members feeling concerned about the communications on budget cuts, feeling increased stress in their workloads and also suffering burnout. With these changes, compassionate leadership has become increasingly important. It's a way for managers to increase team motivation and engagement, reduce stress in the workplace, and create a sense of belonging for their team members. By practicing compassionate leadership, managers can provide a safe and supportive environment where their team members can thrive.

Roffey Park's Compassion Workplace Model provides a helpful framework for understanding the five aspects of compassionate leadership and management. These aspects include being aware of the needs of others, being non-judgmental to the viewpoints of others, being resilient and tolerant toward personal distress, feeling and showing empathy at all levels of professional life, and being accountable and responsible for all good and bad outcomes of the team.

To practice compassionate leadership, managers can employ a variety of techniques.

  1. Transparency: Leaders should strive towards full transparency in what drives workplace changes on their team. 
  2. Open communication: Team members should feel comfortable asking questions without fear of being judged.
  3. Seek your team's feedback and act on it: After implementing a change, ask your team for feedback and work together to improve the way work is performed. 
  4. Support your team's well-being: Look out for signs of burnout, stress, or other mental health stressors and check in with your team. 
  5. Celebrate successes: Many accomplishments go unnoticed, or the team may just move on from one project to another without acknowledging the work done to reach these objectives. Continue to recognize your team, both individually and together, on a job well done.

Compassionate leadership is a powerful approach to leadership that can help managers navigate the challenges of today's workplace. By prioritizing empathy, understanding, and support, managers can create a culture of compassion that benefits both their team members and their departments and units. Ultimately, compassionate leadership is about creating an environment where everyone feels valued, supported, and able to thrive.