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7 Inspiring Traits of Compassionate Leadership

Teams thrive when the members trust the leader cares about them.
7 Inspiring Traits of Compassionate Leadership
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Psychologist, Author, Speaker
6 min read
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The driving forces of exceptional leadership are desire, self-awareness and, most important, compassion. Effective leadership cannot prevail under negative circumstances such as putdowns, dishonesty, demands, frustration, denigration, manipulation, fear or micromanagement. These negative forces create high turnover, a lack of productivity, a lack of motivation and a negative attitude in those required to produce.

To be great, leaders must have the necessary empathy to inspire understanding and knowledge in team members. Empathy is key. Empathy begins with taking an understanding of life from the experience and perception of another. When empathy is present, defensiveness decreases and something positive replaces it. Empathy opens doors and removes confusion. It softens the minds and hearts of others. When people are open, this is exactly when the compassionate leader can be more creative in solving problems in ways that drive productivity and long-term success. To follow are seven traits of compassionate leadership.

1. Learning

Compassionate leaders understand that no matter how great they think they are, they are still surrounded by other intelligent people who are full of ideas that can enhance their skills and knowledge to lead even more effectively. When leaders operate as if they know everything, they harden themselves to new ideas by stubbornly assuming they have nothing more to learn to be effective in their role. There is no compassion in that mindset. Leadership requires learning. Leadership is the sum total of mistakes made, and the learning and growing it takes to remain patient, yet persistent, in their objectives. Compassionate leaders possess the modesty to continually seek feedback under the belief system they can only grow their team to the extend they grow themselves.

Related: Leadership Is Learned From Experience, Mentoring and Failure

2. Removing barriers.

Compassionate leaders immerse themselves in the daily grind with their team, helping them face and solve problems harming productivity or hindering reciprocal communication when closing deals. Removing barriers is twofold. Leaders have to understand the internal emotional patterns of each team member, which patterns hold them back and which promote them into success. Leaders need to help team members work through their defeatist thoughts and encourage new patterns of thinking to help them be more successful going forward. Once team members start thinking in terms of success rather than failure, leaders have the role of helping team members talk through ways to remove any external barriers with others they may face when closing deals.

When team members stop bringing leaders obstacles to overcome, their days as a leader will soon end.

Related: 7 Leadership Lessons From U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis

3. Impact

Compassionate leaders live to help others and make no room for selfishness on the teams they lead. Greed has no place to prosper when selfishness is not part of the program. These leaders live with an attitude of abundance and prefer to look at what team members need rather than at what team members aren’t doing. Compassionate leaders make no room for pessimism. They view challenges with interest rather than dread. This attitude sets the tone for team members and keeps morale high.

For these leaders, success is less about riches or fame and more about having a deep and lasting positive impact on all who are served. The compassionate leader seeks to understand people, knowing that understanding is the doorway into having the greatest impact on guiding others.

Related: Dalai Lama vs. Playboy: How One Choice Changed Chef Eric Ripert's Life Forever

4. Standards

Compassionate leaders hold themselves and their ethics to high standards. These leaders are ethical and expect every one of their team members to be the same. Ethics are the building blocks upon which success of any kind is based. These types of leaders strive for nothing less than excellence. Some team members may not be used to an environment where excellence is expected of them. To inspire them, compassionate leaders show high levels of integrity in their daily actions. This helps to gain the trust and confidence of team members who are new or unsure.

These types of leaders trust team members will live up or down to their expectations; therefore, they set the bar high on quality but keep it within reach. When quality is expected, team efforts naturally increase.

Related: 6 Key Tips for Leading by Example

5. Influence

Compassionate leaders seek influence, not authority. They don’t demand, they encourage. They lead with hope. They guide, acknowledge and support team members to combine their efforts, skills, talents, insights, passion, enthusiasm and commitment to work together for the greater good.

These types of leaders find their purpose in bettering the lives of others. Compassionate leaders use the power of their role to lead others into the discovery of their own unique power. They view the growth and development of the people they lead and the communities they serve as the great makers of their success.

Related: 3 Women Entrepreneurs Who Unleash Their Energy for the Greater Good

6. Passion

Compassionate leaders understand that people who are driven want to be part of something meaningful and influential. These leaders hold a deep concern for how their team members feel and what they’re getting out of their work experience. They do all they can to inspire team members to give nothing less than their best.

Leading requires the skill to inspire passion in others who may not know how to get in touch with it on their own. These leaders encourage team members to approach every task they do, down to the smallest details, with determination. These types of leaders are powerful because they understand that success comes to those who fully dedicate themselves to a cause. Compassionate leaders know there is nothing more powerful than a person who is driven from their heart.

Related: How To Keep Employees Feeling Passionate About Their Work

7. Team

Compassionate leaders hold the wisdom that great things in life or business are never accomplished by one person. Excellence is a group effort, whether that be a team, a company, a society or an entire civilization. For teams to succeed, they need leaders who support and guide them to stay focused, especially when the stakes are high.

Compassionate leaders bring their team members together to work as a functional unit. They lay the groundwork for their team to have the best chance of success, and then take great joy in sitting back and watching team members shine individually and collectively. These leaders have no problem taking the lead when the team is in danger and no problem stepping to the side to allow their team to experience the successes they have accomplished on their own.

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