Lead with compassion: A multi-purpose tool for your leadership kit
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Talk with Uvinie Lubecki and Anna Kawar at Leading Through Connection (LTC) and you will hear about their vision for a more “human kind of leadership” and how it can help us achieve personal resilience as well as improve organizational performance. LTC helps leaders apply compassion to strengthen the relational skills necessary for highly engaged and effective leadership.
“Compassion is understanding where people are coming from, feeling concern for them in a genuine way, and acting to help them be successful,” says Lubecki, Founder and CEO. She notes that “compassion” has different definitions, some that come from the faith traditions, others from the field of psychology, and that this definition applies compassion to a style of leadership and organizational culture. “We need to redefine compassion for leaders and show what’s possible when it’s applied—the first step is to move beyond empathy to compassion,” she clarifies.
LTC believes that compassion is the real key to alleviating the inadvertent suffering that leaders can cause and to transforming the kind of impact leaders can have on their organizations, communities, and the world. “Compassion is a unique tool that allows us to stay aware of the human implications of our decisions and actions and maintain true alignment with others,” says Lubecki. “When leaders embody compassion, research shows that they appear stronger, gain more followers, and improve organizational performance.”
Compassion addresses concerns that are surfacing more and more for leaders today. Working with organizations across sectors, Lubecki and Kawar, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, are learning what leaders say they need most. Here are some of the questions emerging from today’s leadership:
- How can I better engage my employees and take care of their wellbeing?
- How can I align my team on collective values?
- How can we make decisions collectively, especially across divides?
- How can we best communicate and implement the changes we need to make while remaining sensitive to the needs of the people we’re impacting?
“In a survey of over 1,000 leaders from 800 organizations, 91% said compassion is very important for their leadership and 80% said they would like to enhance their compassion but do not know how,” Kawar notes. In fact, after conducting numerous interviews with leaders across diverse organizations, LTC discovered one of the main barriers to bringing compassion into leadership is the lack of good models for how to lead with compassion in a way that doesn’t pit people against results. LTC is helping to fill that void, creating mindfulness- and compassion-based tools and frameworks that help leaders develop resilience and the relational skills for engagement, trust, and collaboration.
Innate to all of us, compassion can be taught; it can be learned; and we can cultivate it within our organizations. It is a powerful tool for relating to others on both interpersonal and societal levels.
And when it comes to leadership, you can put compassion in action to address these five challenges:
- Developing self-awareness in your leadership
- Maintaining wellbeing and resilience while navigating complexity, uncertainty, and stress
- Regulating difficult emotions and reactivity
- Understanding the fears, needs, and hopes of those you lead and serve
- Providing constructive feedback and advice with radical candor
Amy Ferguson is senior communications manager at the Fetzer Institute.
Do you have questions about compassion and leadership? Feel free to share your thoughts in the “Leave a comment” section below. And introduce yourself to Uvinie Lubecki, Founder and CEO of Leading Through Connection, in Los Angeles in November at Upswell at the workshop, “Leading with Compassion,” sponsored by the Fetzer Institute.