Compassion is an emotional response to someone else’s hardship and an authentic desire to relieve that suffering. Compassionate leadership is intentional, forward thinking, and can be developed, but are leaders starting with themselves? If they aren’t, they ought to be. How and why do we practice self-compassion?
Leaders make daily decisions that significantly impact not only organizational success but also people’s lives and livelihoods. The workplace has seen a lot of changes the past two years and leaders can feel self-doubt and fearful stress, making themselves their own worst critics.
Try showing yourself compassion. Remember, you control your internal conversations; thus, you have the power to reframe how you feel. Self-compassion builds resilience and promotes greater mental and physical well-being. Committing to self-kindness and compassion often takes practice and is a skill you can actively work on. When you feel stress building and negative neural pathways flowing, try the following:
1. Practice Daily Awareness – Journal for five minutes in the morning and evening about what you appreciate that happened in the previous 12 hours; start and end your day with a positive outlook and actionable self-growth items.
2. Feel Your Feelings – Cultivating the ability to truly feel what is arising within you allows you to take meaningful action and experience moments to the fullest. Give yourself the space and time to feel positive and negative emotions.
3. Practice Mindfulness Exercises – Counting to ten, reciting the alphabet, and conscious breathing all ground and focus your intentions, encouraging you to be true and kind to yourself.
4. Switch Up Your Space – Go for a walk, work from home, or head to a coffee shop. Clearing your mind doing something you enjoy rewards your brain and motivates you to shift your perspective.
5. Let Go – You can only control what is within your control. Let go of negative neural pathways that inhibit self-compassion, eliminating the tendency to blame and beat yourself up.
6. Ask for Help – It is essential that we acknowledge we are not perfect. Leaders often feel like they should be able to do everything, without error. Ask for help when needed and let go of obsessive self-criticism.
7. Be curious – The most successful communicators practice “Intellectual Humility.” Realize that you have cognitive limitations and work to figure out what is true. When your mind is full of negative self-talk, you have no space to be insightful and curious about others. Stay open to learning, to resources, and to opportunities.
LEADERSHIP TAKEAWAY: Good leaders practice self-compassion. Before you can compassionately lead others, practice self-compassion. Showing yourself compassion makes you more successful, more creative, more resourceful AND a better, happier, more resilient, and more compassionate leader of others.
Would you like to be a better leader? Contact us about leadership training that can advance your business.
Dr. Cheri Rainey is the CEO/Founder of Rainey Leadership Learning, partnering with leaders to support the entire employee life cycle.