While leaders remain transfixed by technological imperatives, something more fundamental is being neglected: compassion. Jacqueline Foley, CMO of Odgers Berndtson Canada, explains why we should care.
We are living in a time of technological chaos, or at least it feels that way. Bombarded by digital communications and more information than we can absorb, plus the fear of constant change and an uncertain future, we have a lot on our minds. Studies show this is making us stressed and distracted, and perhaps a little less human. I would argue that it’s making us a lot less compassionate.
So why should we care about being more caring? Well, in addition to the fact that neuroscience illustrates we feel happier when we show compassion towards others, we also know that there is a proven correlation between expressing empathy and improved results. According to a study published by the Center for Creative Leadership, it seems that managers who genuinely seek to understand their employees and their perspectives are rated by their bosses as being better performers.
We also know that being a successful leader in today’s global, technology-driven economy requires collaboration and building consensus among groups with many different perspectives and values. And what better way to engage others than by showing them you care about them? Caring builds trust, and trust builds loyalty and commitment. And who doesn’t want to work for a company that makes them feel valued as a person?
Is everything OK?
Author, speaker and leadership expert, Simon Sinek, is preaching this ‘caring’ message around the world. He believes that empathy, the ability to recognise and share others’ feelings, is the most important instrument in a leader’s toolbox today. According to Sinek, you can start with these three simple words: “Is everything OK?”
This is the good news: empathy and compassion are available to us all. With some practice and a little more mindfulness, we can become better at putting ourselves in the shoes of others, sending a ripple effect of caring throughout our organisations.
In essence, we can be the change we want to see in our workplaces.
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