Compassionate Leader is a Learned Trait, Not Innate: Here is How to Foster It

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Compassion is rarely a trait that is mentioned when describing a great leader. However, while it is true that any head of an organization needs integrity and courage, there would not be success if the company fosters a culture of dishonesty, manipulation, denigration, or intimidation and fear.

Yet, many fail to show empathy whether to the employee or customer. It is not entirely the leader’s fault; a previous study has shown that the more powerful a person becomes within an organization, the more distracted and unobservant they tend to be when it comes to the concerns of others.

But, genuine compassion has to be present for a venture to thrive and succeed. It inspires people to work harder and become better human beings.

Compassion does not come naturally. It can be learned. Here’s how.

Ensuring Employee Well-Being

When a member of the team is going through a personal crisis, a good leader does not force them to follow protocols and formalities to a T. They show compassion by providing necessary support so that the employee can overcome the adversity and come back with a more positive outlook.

So, when an employee is in the process of grieving the loss of a loved one, a compassionate leader allows them to take some time off of work. A member of the staff that needs help to apply for a federal authority association (FHA) loan, the employer goes out of their way to provide the necessary requirements to help them get the approval.

These things can reduce the sources of stress among the workforce which will allow them to exert their focus and energy on their work, not on worrying about their loved ones or necessities. It also motivates the staff knowing that if they encounter a personal crisis, their employer will be ready and willing to provide support.

Make Inclusion a Part of Company Culture

An organization should work as a whole, but that cannot happen if there are cliques forming and certain groups feel like outsiders in their own workplace.

When a company fails to be inclusionary, it creates negative emotions. The workplace becomes a toxic environment where people refuse to work with one another to achieve a common goal. It might give way to bullying and harassment, racism or sexism, and other issues that will lead to demotivation, absences, and resignations.

The leader has to be an example of compassion by establishing a workplace where everyone gets a sense of belonging regardless of race or ethnicity, religion, gender, age, or position in the corporate ladder. Everyone is equal, treated with respect, and compensated adequately. If the leadership does not give everyone opportunities to be heard or to advance, those who were left behind will feel excluded.

Strive Not for Money or Fame


Too many people in the world want to become rich and famous. They end up hurting people around them. Instead of compassion, decisions are made based on greed and self-preservation.

No one wants to work at a company that is evil. While a leader strives for success, the goal should not be to accumulate enormous wealth or become a household name. At the end of the day, making a positive impact on the lives of the people they serve should be a priority. Having money and fame are just bonuses.

A compassionate leader looks at what people need, not what members of the team are not doing or achieving. They demonstrate excellence not because they are afraid, but because they have all the tools they need to do their tasks with efficiency.

Be Kind to Yourself

Compassion begins within. It is not possible for a leader to become empathetic if they are unable to first offer kindness to themselves.

Leaders should set the standard. If they want their team to work hard, they, too, should be seen giving their all at work.

Learning how to be compassionate to one’s self is part of the process of becoming a compassionate leader. Taking breaks throughout the day, for example, is an act of compassion toward one’s self. Going on holidays to spend time with family and friends is self-care.

Through compassionate leadership, an organization can flourish. A harmonious working relationship between employees will be fostered and everyone can work toward creating a positive working environment that supports one another and helps each other grow.

When all of these are achieved, there would be a lower rate of absenteeism and employee turnover. People are motivated to work every day, not fearing Monday or always waiting for Friday. Employees feel pride working at the company.

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