Managing with Compassion

Managing from the Heart is the name of a book I read over 20 years ago, and it resonated with who I already was. When I was younger I was once told I couldn’t be a manager because I was too ‘nice’. Now, there is a point to that because managers do need to create accountability and establish boundaries. I also found as I matured it was easier to manage and be ‘nice’ because age already brings with it a certain amount of respect. My mantra is “I do not micro manage, but I DO have very high expectations”. Somehow people with whom that works find their way into my world. Our work lives demand so much of us, and there is no need for fear to also permeate that environment. People, when given a chance, want to do well and want to please. They just need clear, concise, and consistent direction.

I believe in Servant Leadership … not just mouthing the words, but truly living them. It means exactly what it says, leading by serving the employees who work for you. This principle has been taught for thousands of years, but somehow, especially in our western culture, dominance and power have taken over many leaders. You have to actually care about the well-being of your coworkers to exhibit this behavior. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our government could adopt this philosophy?

I believe another aspect of Managing with Compassion comes from using team building methods so you can create an atmosphere of safety and trust. There are so many tools available to us, and I never believe in stopping with just one. It is a constant process to continue to peel away the layers, like an onion. When my team gets together for lunch some of the most illuminating conversations come from posing just ‘one’ question for everyone to answer. Choose something that isn’t too deep or that is fairly non-threatening, because after all you are in a social environment.

Here is my belief about conflict resolution. If you have a problem with one of your peers, discuss it like grown ups. Additionally, learn to be flexible and accept each other’s idiosyncrasies. By doing that we can grow and see the value in differences. But if a behavior is really bothering you that can be changed – discuss it.

One more element of this kind of management involves authenticity and transparency. The people we supervise need to know we will be straight-forward with them, and we will only delay news in order to protect them in some way. That trust that they are truly protected and supported can relieve a great deal of unnecessary stress in the work environment.

Reposted with permission from Candace Alcorn: