In the business world, ego is praised too often. We applaud the strong-arm approach. We celebrate the "hard-won battle." But the truth is, ego rarely gets you anywhere. It comes with a sour taste, it leaves ill feelings in your wake, and it ends up burning bridges that could have otherwise stood the test of time.
As a leader, whenever you are faced with an issue, compassion is the fastest and most effective way to get back on a positive path that will move you, your company, and the collective forward.
1. Compassion Forges A Bond
No matter the situation, showing the person you are working with that you are on the same team can go a long way. If they come to you with an issue, take a moment to see things from their point of view. Maybe they have someone above them breathing down their neck. Maybe they have a lot on their plate. There is a reason why they are coming to you with a certain energy. The key is to meet them where they are, and then position yourself as a resource--not an enemy. If someone is in a stressful situation, or carrying a lot of anxiety, trying to strong-arm them will do nothing but make things worse.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
2. Compassion Establishes Trust
If you are compassionate, and you look to understand the other person before you react, they will inherently believe they can trust you. They will feel safe in expressing their feelings, knowing that you won't leap to judgments--and instead, you will help them figure out how to navigate the situation.
As a leader, you have to learn to separate yourself from the immediacy of the moment. By showing compassion first, you can calm the waters before you begin giving direction as to how the ship can best move forward.
3. Compassion Keeps Your Head Clear
If there is a fire, or a project goes awry, or an employee makes an unsalvageable mistake, the easy thing would be to react with disappointment, anger, or anxiety. Compassion brings the moment back to being human. If you first look at how the people involved feel, you can get a better sense of what you need to do as a leader to repair the situation.
Remember: Leadership is not an "action." It is not a "solution" or a mask you wear in the moment. It emanates from who you are. Showing compassion first and setting that foundation is what will not only reassure those around you of your confidence and ability to lead, but will help keep you in a positive state, allowing you to make the best decisions possible.