Why Leading with Compassion will Make You More Authentic

Posted in News, Insights, Motivational

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been very intrigued by leadership styles and their influence. Over the years, I’ve concluded that leading with compassion makes a more authentic leader and I will explain why.

Various Leadership Styles

I’m constantly searching for elements that make a great leader while weighing the pros and cons of various leadership styles.

Leading with Compassion, Marshall ConnectsAt various times and situations, some styles of leadership are more effective than others - and some aren't effective at all…anytime!  To give you an idea of the different leadership styles I’ve experienced, I wanted to share with you a list – have you worked under any leaders utilizing these?Authoritarian
  • Paternalistic
  • Democratic
  • Laissez-faire
  • Transactional
  • Transformational
  • Narcissistic

When it is difficult to appreciate the journey…

To be perfectly honest I did not appreciate all of the leaders that I worked under but I did my best to respect their role. Most often I agreed with the direction they took, but when I didn’t agree, I accepted, respected the process and learned something, good or bad. You can learn from everyone you encounter. Even the opportunity to participate in a process you don’t necessarily agree with can profoundly influence your holistic understanding of leadership. Don’t let these opportunities go to waste. Be present, observe, and learn from all situations.

The benefits of leading with compassion

More recently when speaking and consulting on the topic of leadership and emotional intelligence, I’ve been focusing a great deal on the benefits of leading with compassion.  With new clients or groups, I tend to get mixed reactions to the concept at first-mostly I believe because people see compassion as a fluffy word and not descriptive of a strong leader. Leading with compassion is about being aware of how we relate and interact with others and ourselves and how we authentically reflect upon our conduct and make changes as needed. It’s not about being nice or kind to people. Understanding this opens the door to the possibilities of compassionate leadership. 

There’s a great deal of interest and research on this topic. Chade-Meng Tan, discusses this in his book, Search Inside Yourself - The practice of compassion is about going from self to others. Changing to this mentality is the most important process of becoming an authentic leader.

Humility is essential in leadership. If you don’t have it, you may come across as being arrogant. People want to support leaders in whom they believe and to whom they relate. They want someone they can trust. Arrogance doesn’t have a role in that, and yet sometimes leaders get to a point where they feel they are above relating to people. There’s a problem there. A great leader is a visionary with strong emotional intelligence. Effective leaders believe in the value of relationships and truly understand that leading with compassion is more authentic.

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