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Leading with Compassion

Compassion is a necessity everyone needs but is often displaced by those who have been privileged with power. Applied thoughtfully, it can renew employee morale and re-excite your team.

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“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”      – Dalai Lama

We recently read an article that captured our attention by Susan Cramm, who wrote about “How to Lead with More Compassion”.

By definition compassion is the ability to be sympathetic; or have a consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Obviously, given the economy and other stresses faced by the working population, this notion of compassion is particularly timely.


According to Susan, “Seeing others for who they really are, in their splendor as well as their shortcomings, requires conscious effort. And it is work that is well worth doing — from a personal and professional perspective.”

Her article ends, by highlighting how a leader can renew their working relationships by: assuming the best in others; understanding what makes them tick; serving their needs; accepting responsibility; and assuming the best intentions.

Susan’s list started us thinking about whether you can in fact teach a leader to be compassionate. Can they really follow five simple steps and effectively lead with compassion?

It seems that we may be wired differently than we originally were led to believe. According to Science Daily, Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.


“In contrast to “every man for himself” interpretations of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychologist and author of “Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life,” and his fellow social scientists are building the case that humans are successful as a species precisely because of our nurturing, altruistic and compassionate traits.”

They call it “survival of the kindest.”

Keltner’s team is looking into how the human capacity to care and cooperate is wired into particular regions of the brain and nervous system. One recent study found compelling evidence that many of us are genetically predisposed to be empathetic.

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