Compassion in the Workplace
Compassion, at first glance, is a word that conjures benevolence & consideration. At the highest form, it is an emotion of the heart, an all-encompassing emotion that puts one into action to try to aid & fix a situation. Leadership in the highest form does not exist without compassion.
Thupten Jinpa, Dalai Lama’s translator defines compassion as ‘A mental state endowed with a sense of concern for the suffering of others and aspiration to see that suffering relieved.’ Specifically, he defines the ‘Three Main Pillars Of Compassion’ as:
Cognitive Understanding to conceptually understand the problems/situations and decisions that the team is facing.
Affective Understanding to understand and feel the grievances and stresses at an emotional level.
Motivational Connection to be supportive professionally & personally towards the team.
The main motive of these components is to switch the mindset from ‘I’ to ‘We’. Embracing these pillars gives the team a sense of unity.
A highly effective mindful leadership should possess a paradoxical mix of two important and seemingly conflicting qualities; i. e a complete gamut of ambition and personal humility, not only for themselves but for the greater good of the organization.
A survey conducted on the ‘Changing Trends in Organizations’ over the last 10 years, arrived at the conclusion that leaders need high levels of emotional intelligence to cultivate more empathetic bonds with their peers.
This shift provoked another important question – How does compassion fit into a practical leadership context and what does it take to sustain the compassionate methods of leadership? The revelations to this research state that compassion is a potent attribute in a number of key leadership areas in order to promote more constructive & connecting relationships, counter physiological effects of leader-stress by calming bodily reactions, develop an array of positive feelings like optimism and hope and building up resilience and well-being.
It also contributes to other constructive changes helping leaders to emanate less disapproval and make them more approachable, in turn, leading to an enhancing impact on the work climate and culture. The Buddhist view states that we are essentially compassionate by nature summed up by Dalai Lama succinctly in his words “Every human being has the same potential for compassion; the only question is whether we really take any care of that potential, and develop and implement it in our daily life.”
Every human being has the same potential for compassion; the only question is whether we really take any care of that potential, and develop and implement it in our daily life.”H.H. The Dalai lama
Despite all the differences, there are a lot of commonalities between both the approaches- Empathy, respect, selfless & unconditional, committed action and being a benefit to others. To conclude, compassionate leadership, are effective leaders. A leader possessing responsive and empathetic traits will always be optimistic and sensible, i. e., he would be conscious about his own feelings, about impact of his words on the followers and he would be focused on the greater good of others. They will be in a fair situation to deal with crisis, encourage followers to better actions and be effective and efficient communicators.