A question for you to ponder on over the coming weekend. Just how compassionate a manager are you?
Now I know that the word compassion generally doesn’t have much of a place in the business world. But recent research from the Australian School of Business suggests that there is in fact a strong link between profitability, productivity and what it calls ‘compassionate leadership’.
It’s not as soft and fluffy as it sounds. What the research is actually saying is that the best leaders are able to understand people’s drivers, dreams and difficulties and know how to put the right support mechanisms in place so they can be their absolute best.
Often, it’s about tough love, rather than handing the tissues out. So having the courage, for example, to raise an issue about poor performance with an employee and discussing how you can help them improve, rather than burying your head in the sand and hoping the problem will go away.
So what do you need to do to become a more ‘compassionate’ manager? Here are our top tips, drawn from the research:
The research suggests that managers sometimes struggle to get the balance right and confuse compassion with kindness. Those who let the scales get out of kilter risk being either too ‘hard’ or too ‘soft’. The key is to find a way to use your power ‘responsibly’ so that you achieve business goals, while also getting the best out of people.
What do you think? Is there a place for this ‘compassionate’ style of leadership in the workplace? On a scale of one to ten, how compassionate are you? We’d be interested to hear your views.
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