Leading with Compassion

David Graham January 29, 2017

Coaching Tips, Leadership Insights

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As ambitious leaders, sometimes we expect people to like/approve/admire us because of our accomplishments when in actual fact that’s not what matters to people… what matters is how we make them FEEL.

Maya Angelou said it beautifully, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. What would it be like if we applied that same principle to leadership?

Before you think that this is too “touchy-feely” for your leadership style consider this. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn has vowed that compassion is his first principle of management. Our temptation as leaders is to get the team to do things the way that we would do them. He tries to resist that urge by getting to know each player and by putting himself in his or her shoes. This takes time, but by understanding their hopes and dreams and fears he can tap into what truly motivates them to do great work.

So how can you become a more compassionate leader? Author of “The Desire Map”, Danielle LaPorte suggests that rather than setting goals on what we want to achieve, we should set goals on how we want to feel. As leaders, perhaps we should set goals by asking ourselves:

How do I want the TEAM to FEEL?

Do you want them to feel threatened, intimidated, and afraid to make mistakes or do you want them to feel challenged, invigorated, and excited to do great work?

I am not suggesting that we should give up on sharing difficult feedback, after all, it’s an essential element to professional growth, but we need recognize their strengths, coach them and nurture their individual talents. Even transitioning someone out of the company can be an act of compassion; by keeping them in the role that they are not suited for, we may be holding them back from their true destiny.

How can you throw a little more HEART into your LEADERSHIP?

How can you show the team that you care…not just about results, but also about who they as human beings? How can you demonstrate that you are going to be their biggest champion even when the going gets tough?

Still feeling touchy-feely? Remember this: Leading with compassion leads to greater engagement; when your people are more engaged, they are more productive; when they are more productive, it leads to better results, and greater retention.

Click here to see how Jeff Weiner became a compassionate leader.

Danielle LaPorte challenges you to hone in on the 3 feelings YOU want to feel this week.

David Graham

Dave coaches good leaders who want to be great leaders and he works with leaders to build high performing, super-focused teams. For transformational experiences, he takes teams out of the boardroom and into nature.