The two ‘c’s – Compassion and Courage in Leadership
Research suggests that there are at least three emotional regulation systems that help us to cope in life including dealing with demands of work, running a business or having a family. The three systems consist of the threat system , drive system and contentment system. (Gilbert 2009)
“If you want others to be happy practice compassion “ Dalai Lama
The contentment or soothing system is designed to assist with facilitating a sense of calm and balance between the other two systems. The soothing system provides us with positive feelings such as contentment and safety which we all desire. The content state is related to the chemicals endorphins which are heightened when you are able to self soothe. Many factors may avert people from displaying internal and external compassion such as self-criticism, shame, abuse and early experiences such as neglect.
Compassion has been described as a Sensitivity to the suffering of self and others and its causes with a commitment to relieve and prevent it. Sensitivity, empathy , being non-judgemental, distress tolerance, sympathy and care for well being are all associated with compassion. These qualities can help with navigating through workplace difficulties as if you are perceived to have failed you can learn from this experience through having a compassionate mindset and approach by acknowledging your limitations alongside your successes. This will allow you to continue growing and developing as an employee, entrepreneur, manager or Director.
Compassionate breathing will evoke your natural capacity for self soothing whilst developing your self soothing system. It helps you to find your own soothing rhythm. This may involve slowing your breathing to a comfortable, deep and regular pace. If you become distracted use mindfulness to facilitate you in being present.
1.Sit quietly and bring your attention to your breathing
2. Notice the air going in and out through your nose and your stomach rising and falling.
3. Become aware of your chest rising and falling and your ribcage expanding and contracting
4. Breathe into your count of three, pause and then exhale to a count of three seconds
5. Find a breathing pattern that is comforting and soothing
6. Try experimenting with your breathing increasing and decreasing the rat e and notice the difference in how your body feels
7. Once finding your soothing rhythm, experience it for a few minutes and allow the air to come into your body slowly and evenly then leave it slowly and evenly in a breathing rhythm that is soothing for you
8. When you are ready bring your attention and awareness to your environment
9. If you struggled with this you can incorporate a smell or scent into the exercise which you find soothing
Compassionate thinking and mindset can be utilized to counter self-critical thoughts which may cause you to avoid work promotions or seek out novel business opportunities .
The following questions can be useful in developing a compassionate mindset
What does my compassionate image have to say about this?
What advice would I give to a friend I deeply care about who was thinking and feeling this way?
What advice would I give to a friend that is experiencing self critical and negative thoughts?
What does the compassionate part of me want to say to the self-critical part?
What are some other ways of viewing this situation that might be more realistic, kinder or more helpful to me?
How will I feel about this in 1 week, or 1 month, or 1 year?
If it won’t matter much then, can I let go of it now?
What can I do to cope and look after myself now?
Compassion can help you connect on a deep level with many people including your employees by feeling what they’re feeling and stepping into their shoes.
Compassionate leadership is effective leadership which produces significant results which are summarized below. Therefore it pays to invest in yourself and staff as a compassionate organisation is a happy and cohesive organization which will increase productivity and performance.
Compassionate leadership results in :
- high levels of employee engagement
- staff loyalty
- lower turnover of staff
- greater commitment to the organization
- greater collaboration
- more trust
- increased resilience
Remember that sometimes it’s pays to take that professional hat off and connect with your employees on a human level. You will be surprised how modelling compassion can improve employee engagement, performance and productivity . Why not try this and I am confident the results will speak for themself.
people won’t necessarily remember you for what you say but for how you make them feel.
Accedited Cognitive Behaviour Therapist I Health and Wellbeing Consultant I Resilience Trainer
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