This is a third blog of sharing my thoughts on the book Awakening Compassion at Work by Monica Worline and Jane Dutton, 2017. My last blog addressed if compassion at work really matters. My current blog will present ideas on leading with and for compassion.
The authors state there are two ways in which leaders “awaken compassion competence” in organizations.
- Leading with Leaders who are effective in cultivating relationships, knowing people, listening to others about their lives, and caring deeply about others, lead with compassion. It’s the personal side of leading. This also includes being attentive to suffering and responding with compassion. An example of this leadership is Bob Chapman, CEO of the engineering firm Barry-Wehmiller. Chapman describes his leadership as, “To us, stewardship means to truly care, to feel a deep sense of responsibility for the lives we touch through our leadership. Those lives can often appear broken, as people suffer through toxic cultures and abusive leadership. Our aspiration is to heal this brokenness and restore people to their full and joyful humanity.” Watch this short YouTube of Chapman.
- Leading for This is how “leaders use their position to shift the social architecture and direct resources that can be used to alleviate suffering.” An example is Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, who promotes the principle of managing compassionately in the organization, whether it is in hiring, promoting, coaching, and even terminating employees. Watch this YouTube clip of Weiner being interviewed about what he means by managing compassionately.
The authors list organizational impacts of leading with and for compassion. Two examples follow.
Leading with compassion:
- “Seeing compassion modeled in everyday work interactions opens up the possibility that an organization’s members can take compassion from work to home, improving their family and community relationships.”
Leading for compassion:
- “Leading for compassion can entail transformation and change of all elements of the organization’s social architecture.”
I leave you with these questions – “When has a leader touched your life through leading for and with compassion? How can you emulate that behavior with your employees?”
I welcome your responses.