Let’s be honest; empathy, validation, and emotional support are more often permitted from female leaders than it is from male leaders in the workplace. When employees are stressed or emotionally turbulent, they are more likely to keep it to themselves at work than go to a male boss and cry the blues or ask for help.
It’s not really anyone’s fault that it happens this way. For generations, we have been conditioned to believe that a man is somehow less of a man if he displays compassion and vulnerability. As a result, many men in the role of ‘leader” have chosen to keep their human connection and emotional intelligence at a professional distance from the very people that need it most; the people they lead.
However, times are changing rapidly and the days of emotional inequality are becoming a thing of the past. There is an evolving movement within the world of business to not only cultivate leaders who are strategic thinkers and action takers, but who are also compassionate and solution-focused.
Uncertain times are making this leadership shift more important than ever. Companies are having to strategize on a daily basis in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is not business as usual. Leadership has become an essential factor in regards to how well employees are working remotely and, how they are performing despite the enormous stress factors and financial factors that they are having to deal with in this time of crisis.
The stigma of strong men being seen as soft is no longer an excuse that can be used to justify a lack of compassion. If there was ever a time for men in leadership to lead with compassion — this is it. Here are five ways men can practice compassionate leadership.
1. They can become the bridge between their employees and their organization.
Compassionate leaders understand that every employee is not only a significant individual but also an essential thread in the fabric of an entire organization and its ultimate success.
They strive to positively influence the happiness and well-being of their people by supporting them and giving them what they need to excel. They create environments where employees are motivated to develop a greater sense of commitment to the organization.
2. They can show gratitude for the work their employees do.
Compassionate leaders understand that when they authentically display gratitude and reward small wins for the efforts from the people they lead, the people they lead perform better and want to do better. Gratitude is a mindset. The more natural gratitude becomes, the easier it becomes to collaborate with employees during times of crisis and challenges because they know their efforts are truly valued.
3. They can become who they expect others to become.
Compassionate leaders know that they influence company culture and employee engagement. Their attitude has a direct impact on their employees and so they are intentional about what they say, how they say it, and where they say it.
They demonstrate with action, what it means to communicate, collaborate, and connect effectively and respectively. They become an example of how to grow both personally and professionally and, how to have a constructive attitude in any situation.
4. They can listen more effectively.
Compassionate leaders know that listening is a critical component of communication. When an employee takes the time to describe a problem they face or is trying to explain something of significance to them, it is imperative that they are heard. And, without judgment.
What is one person’s molehill can be someone else’s mountain. People have different capabilities of expressing stress, grief, and other challenges that can interfere with job performance. Compassion confirms that they have support from their leader in any situation.
5. They can lead from within.
Compassionate leaders invest in themselves and their personal path to success. They make the effort to grow as individuals so they can improve who they are as leaders. They develop a greater sense of purpose, they learn from failures and, they are not afraid to say, “I don’t know” instead of faking that they do. They are willing to acknowledge the truth and admit error. They believe in themselves and they empower others to do the same.
There is more to leadership than just taking action and getting stuff done. The best leaders in business today have embraced compassion as an integral core value and successfully integrated it into their workplace.
Believing the stereotype that women are more compassionate than men is an old school thought. It’s finally a reality that men have permission to be strong in mind and soft in heart as effective leaders in the workplace.
Are you practicing compassionate leadership?
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Photo Credit: @dylandgillis on Unsplash