If you'd like to become a more compassionate leader, it's within reach. You must simply develop your emotional intelligence skills.
Over the past few years, I have concentrated a great deal on what makes a good leader. When you contemplate a great leader in your life, who is the first person that comes into your mind? What style of leadership do they practise?
Some believe that compassionate leadership is the most effective style. People often have mixed reactions to this concept: they may see compassion as a fluffy word and not descriptive of a strong leader. Leading with compassion, however, is not just about being nice or kind to others. It is about being sincere, genuine, and authentic in your interactions with others. It's about inspiring others to want to work with and follow you.
Do Leaders with Compassion Make a Difference?
You bet they do! Leaders with advanced emotional intelligence are compassionate and acknowledge the feelings of others and address challenges while demonstrating they genuinely care. Their authenticity and empathy for their colleagues result in a highly motivated and committed workforce.
What's the foundation for Emotionally Intelligent Leaders?
Fortunately, we can build and develop our emotional intelligence daily as we mature and experience life, our emotional intelligence increases. I agree with Jack Welch when he states, "No doubt, emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can't ignore it."
A recent research study by psychologist Robert Levenson states our Emotional Quotient (EQ) will peak at the age of 60. The question is, do you want to wait that long? Being proactive and improving your emotional intelligence is worth the investment to enhance ongoing development. There are numerous ways we can focus on improving our EQ, one of the quickest ways is to become aware of your level of emotional intelligence is, to develop a baseline of your abilities through an EQ assessment.
Learning to Lead with Compassion
Emotionally effective leaders practise compassion. There's no shortage of information and research on this topic. Through my work and study, I believe, as some others do, the best definition of compassion comes from Tibetan scholar, Thupten Jimpa, he describes it as "The mental state endowed with a sense of concern for the suffering of others and the aspiration to see that suffering relieved." It has the following components:
- Cognitive: "I understand you."
- Affective: "I feel for you."
- Motivational: "I want to help you."