Compassionate leadership is a combination of empathy and good leadership skills. Modern times and contemporary entrepreneurship consider this leadership model as the key to success.   

By Mia Kollia
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos

Compassionate leaders are at the helm of a business and run it with their brain as well as their heart; they understand that their employees are people first and foremost - and that people have needs. Compassionate leaders treat their employees the way they would like to be treated themselves and focus on developing a work environment where staff feel valued and safe. 
Unfortunately, compassionate leadership in the workplace is not seen very often because the majority of leaders have been trained to believe that the workplace should be emotionless. Everyone's personal problems should stay at home and the only acceptable attitude to display is a positive one. All issues are swept under the carpet and "toxic" positivity is forced upon employees. And yet, compassionate leadership is the key to success. Let's see why...

1) People thrive when there is compassion

When employees feel safe, they thrive because vulnerability leads to deeper human connection. According to author and researcher Brené Brown, people are "programmed" to connect with each other because that gives them meaning and purpose. Therefore, when company leaders are compassionate and show that they care about the well-being of their employees outside the workplace as well, the emotional bond between managers and employees is strengthened and this creates a more stable work environment where people are more likely to flourish. 

2) People need to feel understood

When we don't know what makes our employees stand out, they'll never be able to reach their full potential. Some people go to work just for the paycheck, but there are many others who have found purpose in what they do and with the right guidance, can become valuable assets to our business. But in order to bring out the best in them, we need to be able to understand them—and that's one of the benefits of compassionate leadership.


3) Compassion makes for a happier workforce

Studies show that unhappy employees tend to be more depressed and stressed. This leads to an increased risk of digestive problems and heart disease. So it's in our best interest to try to have happier employees. Compassionate leadership boosts employee morale because it makes them feel supported, safe, and valued, thus creating a more effective workforce.

4) Compassion reduces frequent staff turnover

If we hire new employees every six months it ends up being an uneconomical practice and at the same time slows down the progress of a company. To retain employees and create loyalty, management usually focuses on increasing wages and some additional bonuses. However, people are becoming increasingly unhappy when they work for businesses where they don't feel valued. A survey by ICL (Institute for Compassionate Leadership) shows that people prefer to work for a company that pays less money but is more focused on the well-being of its employees.

5) Compassion improves job satisfaction

When employees are not satisfied with their jobs, they do not perform at a high level or they decide to leave and work somewhere else. A compassionate work environment is more positive and less stressful, which boosts job satisfaction. A study conducted by Villanova University in the United States found that satisfied employees are more focused on the company's success. They have a desire to fulfill the organisation's vision and therefore do whatever is necessary to achieve it. 

It is pretty common that one can have great leadership skills but lack empathy. The good news is that empathy is a soft skill that we can learn.