Compassion : What’s Leadership Got To Do With It?

Does compassion have a place in the workplace? Is a leadership culture of compassion compatible with high performance and traditional Performance Management?

I’m researching and writing for my next book, The Happiness Sweet Spot. It’s good stuff and great Heart Work for me.

I get a lot of good feed back a requests for speaking about Talent Management based on The Happiness Sweet Spot model and the assessment tools we have developed. These tools are based on the “innocence to excellence” thinking.

Wherever I go these days, I try and have conversations about the understanding of The Happiness Sweet Spot and get feed back on my thinking and recommendations for organizations.

The last four weeks I have been in Saudi, UK, Turkey, Pakistan, Belgium and of course Copenhagen on speaking and consulting assignments.

My experience is that a heartfelt organizational PURPOSE and TALENT Leadership is easy to work with, communicate and understand for most of my partners.

On the other hand, when I talk about COMPASSION as a leadership trait and organizational culture, I get various reactions and a few blank stares from leaders in different countries.

Many leaders I talk to see compassion as a essential leadership skill and a competence that can be trained and developed.

Some leaders I talk to feel or think that compassion as a leadership trait and basis for an organizational culture is too touchy-feely and not compatible with high performance or performance management.

Many of these leaders mention that there is a element of “pity” in the understanding of the word Compassion. They think this has no place in a workplace.

This is an interesting discussion and dialogue. Many refer to compassion as a general, religious, social value in their society – and not at the workplace. We all tend to agree that our world need and could use more compassion. But we have different views on compassion as an essential leadership trait and culture for moving organizations.

In my view and in The Happiness Sweet Spot context,  Compassion is defined as“An interest in understanding the difficulties of other people and a burning desire to do something about it.” 

I think if we can cultivate an organizational culture of compassion and help our leaders develop a high degree of compassion in their leadership, that will make a  difference for any organization. Both in terms of results and general well-being and happiness in the organization.

And if this is combined with a strategic focus on a strong heartfelt organizational Purpose and Talent Management and leadership, you will haveThe Happiness Sweet Spot for your organization. That’s a competitive advantage, right there.

That’s what I think.

What do you think?

All my very best from Copenhagen – and Lars 🙂

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