Dear Entrepreneur, Are You A Compassionate Business Leader?

In today’s business world, the entrepreneurs that have been able to build great businesses and provide satisfying customer experiences are the entrepreneurs with a great dose of compassion. These guys have the ability to get into their employees and customers’ head, think like them and provide the care that is needed to make them perform and purchase excellently.

According to Harvard Business Review, “Compassion has become increasingly recognized as a foundational aspect of leadership. One study from 2012 found that compassionate leaders appear stronger and have more-engaged followers. Other studies have found that organizations with more-compassionate leaders have better collaboration, lower turnover, and employees who are more trusting, more connected to each other, and more committed to the company. When we surveyed more than 1,000 leaders from 800 organizations, 91% of them said compassion is very important for their leadership and 80% said they would like to enhance their compassion but do not know how.

What do we mean by compassion? It is the intent to contribute to the happiness and well-being of others. A compassionate leader has a genuine interest in seeing their people not just perform and increase profits but thrive. But this doesn’t mean “being soft” or trying to please people by giving them what they want; rather, it requires giving people what they need, such as tough feedback. Compassionate leadership requires having wisdom about how to lead for the greater good and for the long term.

The good news is that compassionate leadership can be learned. With simple practices, we can become more compassionate and bring more wisdom to our leadership. This assessment will help you understand how wisely compassionate you are. Answer each question honestly. After you take the assessment, you will get a report outlining where you can improve, along with practical tips for becoming a more compassionate leader.”

I took a compassionate questionnaire from the Harvard Business Review to check how compassionate I am. Recorded below is my result:

You scored in quadrant 2. This means you are kind and compassionate to others while having the wisdom to not be carried away by sentimental impulses. However, you will always benefit from bringing even more compassion and wisdom to your life and leadership. Based on our experience working with thousands of leaders, here are three practical things that will help you do that.

  • Be candid. Candid feedback can be hard to give because as leaders, we don’t want to hurt anyone. But it is our responsibility to provide the guidance people need, even if it is hard for us to say or for them to hear. We must provide candid feedback to the ones we work with to help them improve. When a team member is not performing to standards, be candid and tell them what they should work on.
  • Be kind to yourself. The starting point of compassion is self-compassion — and we can always be kinder to ourselves. When we lack compassion for others, it is often because we don’t show enough compassion to ourselves. Focusing on your own well-being — by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising — sets you up to make better decisions. But the most important time you need to show yourself compassion is when you make a mistake. Be swift in accepting that it happened, and focus on learning from it instead of engaging in negative self-talk. Tell yourself “I will do better next time” rather than “I just did a terrible job.”
  • Cultivate the space for wisdom. Wisdom is the judgment that helps you do what is best for the long term. You cultivate it by taking time to reflect on what is in the best interest of the organization and of its people — especially in moments when they conflict. Research has shown that a few daily minutes of mindfulness training makes you more responsive and less reactive to the challenges you face every day, providing you with the mental space for reflection.
  • Train yourself. Compassion is a work in progress and needs constant tuning. Even though you score high on compassion, you can become a better leader by enhancing it further. Compassion can be improved through a daily meditation practice. Research has found that just a few minutes of practice a day can increase your positive emotions, sense of purpose, and happiness. Click here for guided compassion practices and further resources.

I find this answer deeply resonating. I will work on myself to become a more effective and compassionate business leader.

You can click here to take your own assessment. And see how compassionate you are.  If you score low, you can always improve.



is a thinker, content developer and business development strategist. He is the Principal of Richard & Malcolm Consulting; a business development company. Richard enjoys working with entrepreneurs and leaders pursuing transformational change for their organizations. He is the author of two books – The RICH Theory and Advance. Connect with him on twitter @RichardChilee

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