To begin a conversation around Leadership leads one’s mind astray immediately as it conjures up the greatest names in Leadership development, famous Authors and leading authorities from Simon Sinek, Steve Jobs and Napolean Hill to John Maxwell, Anthony Robbins, Jim Rohn and other such greats.
Very few would automatically put in names like Oprah, Maya Angelou and Mother Theresa under the names of Leaders. People of powerful Influence and Thought Leaders maybe. Accomplished definitely. Life changers and role models absolutely!
Watch carefully how and when people choose to quote the various people mentioned above.
With Social media creating such a powerful medium to entice personal growth, many seek the most advertised in the field they believe development in. Little do we realise that we are missing the juiciest most accessible secrets by not acknowledging the true depth of the impact that various Knowns and unKnowns are playing in the Leadership field.
Now this book is not going to extoll the virtues of what a good leader ought to be.
The chances are, if you have picked up this book, you are clearly looking at a very different approach to connecting with people and influencing them differently to the ways you have already learnt, read about or have been taught.
So my personal take on Compassionate Leadership is simply this….
It is all about the Art of Connecting on a deeper emotional level to touch the lives of every person you interact with regardless of who they are, where they come from and what their status is. A compassionate leader is able to embrace anyone, anywhere, anytime without prejudice, unconscious biases or programming that generally makes people judge based on religion, age, culture, religion, language or gender grouping.
Simply put, the Compassionate Leader is able to see the human being!
A Compassionate leader comprehends, connects, understands and accepts people for who they are and where they are at in their journey, then entices them to grow to the next levels of excellence in their personal and business lives, by adding Value in every way to guide, support and share expertise and experiences to help that person in a meaningful way.
A refreshing way to think I must say. The most epic part about the above statement, is that it takes absolute vulnerability and strength combined to achieve this balance. It means that the Compassionate Leader is a life learner who understands that their own growth adds value to others, so they constantly seek inner peace, guidance and adjust their own styles of behaviour constantly according to the ever-changing environments.
In other words, they are continuously Evolving!
Many still read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Think and Grow Rich etc, yet books and thoughts are evolving constantly with other great additions like Outliers, Multipliers, Find your Why, Intentional Living etc… This just shows, how Leadership books alone are changing.
The diverse groups of personalities, sexual orientation, genders, generational gaps, personal expectations, cultures, traditions and language groups dominating the work place is seeing a shift in the need for Diversity and Inclusion, Conflict Resolution, communication skills and Team building to be an imperative part of building cohesive teams.
That alone leads us to question, at what point are Leaders of organisations being upskilled to handle all off these Human Behaviours ensconced within these qualities of diversities inherent in the Workplace make up?
See, being a Compassionate leader is a way of being. You can develop it, nurture it, understand the qualities of it, yet, once you embody it in your everyday behaviour as part of your Second Nature interactions, then the power and flow of the impact it has, can be seen in a viable, positive, tangible way in the way that the entire organisation and its people respond.
It is a choice really. And don’t get me wrong. I am not about to dissect the age old idiocy of the statement – Are Leaders Born or made? A statement that many waste valuable time contemplating and discussing. I am not interested in those old thoughts.
I would much rather explore the crazy, awesome view of how we can share our knowledge, wisdom and experiences by partnering with each other as people to add value and create a culture built on Respect, thoughtfulness, proactive, solution focussed thinking.
The greatest mistake, I believe that people make, is that they feel responsible to tell others how to do their jobs, push them and evaluate their performances against goals and deadlines set according to organisational standards.
I feel that if we led people to find within themselves the key to growing themselves, we are half way to conquering the need for motivational speeches and team buildings.
If a person sought self-development as an everyday, common practice, you will be guaranteed to find a workplace that is welcoming, caring, respectful and hopeful. A positive work environment where everyone is focussed on guiding and supporting each other regardless of level, age, status, title or department.
HR then concentrates on implementing policies and procedures vital to a company’s growth, rather than handling human behavioural issues.
The greatest tragedy that has befallen many organisations is that internally, many have not bought into the values that were thrown from the top down to the rest of the people like a dictatorship.
Compassionate Leaders have the vital missing ingredient that entices Values to become a Doing within the organisation. How? Simple really….it is Inclusive Leadership!
They make decisions by including their people. Not the general way it is done by Executive teams going away to a 5 Star resort, having an Epic time, thumb sucking generic values and then coming back and wasting their HR teams time to roll out the values that no one had a say in. Then the part that fascinates me the most is how they cannot understand why people are disconnected, there is underlying conflict, lack of trust, communication, anger, frustration, poor performance, lack of morale, diversity issues and a silo mentality pervading the entire organisation. It is simple really…no one was asked if they understood or even resonated with any of the values chosen. No one was give choice or the chance to add their own opinion or input into something they have to live by.
In my experience, I have noticed a major difference between the companies that included their people in the decision making of what values they resonated with along with a clear understanding of how to implement it in a practical way in the work environment, compared to companies that chose up to 5 Values, printed them and expected their people to adhere to them like rules.
When you look at the simplicity of the exercise, it is not a major challenge to implement a roll out that engages people and makes them feel like they have a voice. One that is Valued and Valuable. I have also noticed that the buy in to LIVE these values on a daily basis, is stronger and more sustainable.
So being Intentional in how you connect with your people, being compassionate in your approach through understanding human behaviour at a deeper level and being inclusive with decision making is the key to becoming a Compassionate Leader.
The next step to understanding the depth and role that a Compassionate Leader plays in any organisation lies in the way they interact with their people. It is seen in their actions. Not their eloquent speeches or public appearances. Now don’t get me wrong. Those are all important. Yet the authenticity of the Compassionate Leader is apparent in how they respect their people from the moment they arrive in the parking lot of their company to the way they handle their social and public image. All is on show for people to see. They are transparent.
There is very little distinction between their public and personal image or persona. Transparency in the way they share thoughtfully, guide others and live a life of integrity even when they are not in the public eye or at work.
The Façade inherent in many leaders is simply non-existent to say the least when it comes to those who understand the powerful impact of embracing compassion in the way they treat their people, family, friends, children, partners and just people in general.
If we take a closer look at some of the qualities that add value to people on a daily basis, we would actually realise that thoughtfulness and respect play the biggest role and can so easily be learned and implemented automatically as we develop them as habits.
Can you imagine for just one second, a workplace where every person feels honoured, respected and valued for who they are, and you never have to ever deal with anger, prejudice, gender inequality, generational gap issues, entitlement mentality or even gossiping and backbiting.
Sounds like it is too good to be true right? And maybe it is…but you will never come vaguely close to that type of interaction if you do not drastically change the way you as a Leader adjusts to inspire others to feel good enough to embrace that kind of environment.
The Glass Ceiling Effect
Now here is an amazing concept…
Cliché’s…. Now maybe I am thinking out of the box here and many of you will not agree, because you are still happy with where you are at…and I am not going to suck up to you like many writers and tell you that it is ok… But I WILL tell you this…it is total Bullshit!!!
So now that you are offended and want to stop reading, go ahead. It does not bother me…what does, is that you are willing to buy into the self limiting belief ingrained in you from a saying coined by some stranger out there and yet, it has the power to guide your everyday thinking????
Maybe I am missing the point here? So let me explain MY thinking then! If glass is transparent and can be seen through…..AND it can be shattered with force…why then are we limited by a barrier that is imprinted in our beliefs and seen in our everyday actions?
Why do we CHOOSE to limit our thinking? Seriously think about it. The belief that you are held back in life, in relationships, at work, in your home, in your family, in your social interactions…all of this is because there is a glass ceiling effect holding you back??
Let’s quantify this… Many say that they cannot go further in their careers due to the glass ceiling effect specifically designed to hold Women back…now here I can agree and disagree at the same time. There are some instances and environments not conducive to your own growth due to the limited thinking of some individuals…however, if you are really good at what you do, then you have an entire industry to play with. Move, grow, change, choose…but whatever you do, stop wallowing in self pity.
See, my thinking is that you are ALLOWING someone else’s limiting belief systems about gender, to be the excuse why you can’t stand up for yourself, make a life for yourself, why you cannot get a promotion, why you are always the target, always disrespected, always bullied, always harassed, always spoken about, always demeaned, always ignored…and the list goes on.
Do you see a pattern here? Everything is a reaction to someone else’s behaviour towards you. Regardless of whether you are a man or woman, if you have a sob story for how people ALWAYS treat you, stop yourself right now and reflect on your own behaviour!
- How much of this do you allow?
- How much do you stand up for yourself?
- Do you need to be more assertive?
- Speak more clearly and with confidence?
- Be more decisive?
- Or just simply grow the courage to say NO!
At what point do you decide that you are WORTH it? At what point in your life, do you stop wallowing in self pity and take back your voice and your own innate ability to achieve based on the fact, that you are an amazing person, who adds value to others just because of who you are?
See, my belief is simply this, as Eleanor Roosevelt so succinctly put it, “No one can make you feel inferior, without your consent”. Now this rings true because I trust in this sentence completely. Nothing anyone says or does, can cause me to react. I choose to respond because I know that I am destined to impact millions of lives not because I am dreamed it, but because I pursue it. I am not limited in what I can do and achieve. I work on my personal thoughts, actions and belief systems constantly.
It is true that there are some people out there who do not have your best interest at heart, be it family, friends, a partner, spouse or work colleagues. Their thoughts about you has absolutely nothing to do with you and it is merely a reflection on their own character! They have their own journey to live and the day you step back and understand that, is the day you take back your own life.
Remember, a glass ceiling effect is in your mind. People around you are the triggers that you allow yourself to react to and the domino effect is that you begin to live the way they determine your life should be. I am saying and I have proven that it can be shattered by strengthening your own thoughts, words, actions and belief systems. Stand up for yourself by becoming aware of what you allow and stop it!
“Remember in life, that you too are a miracle!” Dr Arthie Moore-Robberts