Leading with compassion – dream or reality?

I recently read ‘Simply Brilliant’, written by William Taylor, founder of Fast Company, which really inspired me. In the book, he highlights transformational leadership trends, having researched and analysed companies all over the world for several years.

And it seems that one of the emergent trends is good old-fashioned kindness.

Whaaat?? Kindness at work? Compassion and empathy? Really?

If you’re reading this with some scepticism and a raised eyebrow, I don’t blame you. For the most part, we see quite the opposite in organisations. The pervasive ethos for many managers is around activating your ‘human resources’ to perform optimally, by treating these resources as if they were in-animate objects, albeit with a brain or two.

Seldom do we hear managers and leaders connecting with the ‘heart and soul’ of their people, as a way to engage them and enhance productivity and outcomes.

Yet, leading with kindness seems to not be just a utopian ideal, nor a passing fad. According to William, companies where leaders have empathy, and are able to show this in their day to day interactions with their teams, performance and productivity is exceptional!

Imagine that? A work environment where the fundamental belief system is that people respond better to kindness than anger or impatience. Where they strive harder when there is an absence of fear, and instead trust, support, compassion.

According to Taylor, ‘In a world being re-shaped by technology, what so many of us crave are small gestures of kindness that remind us of what it means to be human’.

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? So how come we’re not seeing this, in ALL of our work environments?
I’m not sure. Perhaps the sentence should read: ‘We’re not seeing this in all of our work environments, YET’.

I’m hopeful.