Great leaders are compassionate.
I know a great leader who had an employee in trouble. It was rather serious financial trouble, and it jeopardized her family. She wasn’t a top performer. She wasn’t anyone’s favorite. But she was one of his people, and he did what was necessary to help her out of her financial jam.
I know another great leader who helps people who don’t perform well into other roles. Sometimes those roles are within his company. Other times, he helps them find their way into new companies where they can be successful. He doesn’t throw people out on to the street. He cares about people.
You’ve no doubt heard stories like these–or you have made similar decisions yourself. Maybe you’ve done what you believed to be right, even when it wasn’t popular, and even when you have stood alone.
Compassion isn’t walking a mile in someone’s shoes. Compassion isn’t the mental process of understanding intellectually what another person is going through.
Compassion is feeling in your heart what the other person feels in their heart.
Think compassion is weakness? Think compassion means that you don’t have to make the hard decisions? Compassion is an indication of your strength. It’s an indication that you are strong enough to do something to help.
Being compassionate doesn’t mean that you aren’t tough as nails when it comes to protecting your culture. It doesn’t mean that you don’t expect your people to perform. And it doesn’t mean that you ever allow anyone to walk all over you, abuse your generosity or your caring, or take advantage of you.
Compassion means you are a living example of what it means to lead, what it means to care, and what it means to serve. Your people won’t do what you say, but they will be who you are. If you lack compassion when it comes to the human things, so will the people you have the honor to lead.
People are going to remember what you do to help others. Are you strong enough to be compassionate?
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