Thank you to everyone who responded to my “super short survey” about compassionate leadership.
What I learned from the responses:
- Respondents believe they are a compassionate leader at least sometimes, with most saying that they would say they are compassionate in their leadership role most of the time.
- No surprise, employees were the most cited challenge to being a compassionate leader. Several people mentioned kindness being taken advantage of in various ways. Leaders also shared that knowing how and when to be flexible considering an employee’s situation versus standing firm for rules, policies, and other employees’ perspectives was a challenge.
- I also noted that respondents tended to use “empathy” and “compassion” interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Think of it this way: empathy means to feel something with someone. They’re in a metaphorical hole, and you climb in with them to show you feel what they’re feeling and can relate. What we want to do is to stay outside the hole, maintaining our perspective and reaching in to help them get out—that’s compassion. Empathy is not necessary for showing compassion—you don’t need to feel what they feel. Sympathy is valuable because it’s the signal that someone needs help. Compassion is the action that follows sympathy.
These insights are helping me shape and prioritize the opportunities I’m seeing to help those of you committed to building healthy, compassionate workplace cultures.
Here’s what caught my attention to share with you this week:
- Very few younger workers aspire to be managers–I started noticing this trend 4-5 years ago. Ryan Wong’s company surveyed 1,000 full-time, non-management employees across the U.S. and shared the results in Entrepreneur Magazine. Only 38% of them expressed interest in rising to the level of manager at their current company. Ryan shares insights as to why management no longer holds the prestige it once did, including a low respect for leadership, unreasonable pressures on managers, and the increased value of being an individual contributor. He also offers solutions. These include rethinking the responsibilities of the role and perhaps adopting a player/coaching model and looking at the smart compensation model he uses at his company to tie real performance metrics to compensation. Interesting stats throughout this piece, including that 73% of managers said they should be a model of well being for their employees but only 35% of employees see their managers as healthy people. Ouch.
- Does your brain tell you the truth, or do you need to rewrite its code? Cecelia Baum Mandryk, a life coach, makes great points about how our brains tend to present us with information that they’ve stored as valuable. However, we need to revisit the truth of what we’re telling ourselves. She does a better job of explaining this, so give this quick Instagram video a look.