Lead with Compassion

“Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” — Plato (428-347 BCE)

Consider This:


To be alive is to struggle and grow. At times it can feel like a battle. Stuck in your daily battles, it’s easy to forget that everyone else is struggling too. That we’re all in the same boat. Have compassion for others. Compassion isn’t born from a desire to be “nice.” It’s born from realizing that no matter what it looks like on the surface, another’s struggles aren’t so different from yours.

I shared this idea with a client recently and he looked at me like I was nuts. A member of his staff had been underperforming and he was trying to figure out how to address it. He said, “It sounds like you’re telling me to let him off the hook.” “Not at all,” I responded. “Keep him on the hook, but have some compassion in the process. Let him know his performance has to improve, but also understand why he’s struggling. If he feels like you understand him – even if you don’t agree with him – you’ve got a better chance of motivating him to change.

Try this:

1. Think of someone who’s giving you problems.
2. For 60 seconds, set aside the things that are frustrating you about them.
3. Reflect on the anxieties, confusion, and frustrations they may be feeling.
4. Notice a shift in your perception of that person.
5. Keep their struggle in mind when you have a conversation with them.

Doug Sundheim • Executive Coach • New York, NY • •