In my last video in this series, I kicked off a brand-new series on tips to create a more compassionate workplace. One of the first places to start in building your compassionate leadership is by increasing your own self-awareness as a leader.
Expand your self-awareness to build your compassion
Self-awareness means that you must have the emotional intelligence to recognize where there are possible stress points in your team. You must be to be able to sense others’ feelings and perspectives, and you have to demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in their concerns. How do you do that? How do you build your self-awareness?
The answer is actually easier than you might think. It is to slow down. To slow down and observe. Now I get that you’re busy! Every leader I know is responsible for getting a multitude of tasks accomplished in a day. But it is absolutely vital for leaders to pause at times and just breathe. By slowing down and observing what is going on, you can gain a mindfulness about your team specifically, and the work environment and the atmosphere overall. When you pause, it will be easier for you to sense any tensions that may be affecting your department and team, and then you can take action to mitigate the situation.
So get up from your desk and walk to the coffee station. Stop in to chat with some of your employees in their workspaces. If your meetings are virtual, get in there early and talk to your early arrivals. Or use the first 10 minutes of your virtual meeting to check in on your staff. Yes, you have to get things done, but pausing will build your self-awareness. And the more self-aware you are, the more compassionate a workplace you will create.
Almost every time I share this strategy with leaders, I get push-back that it’s not practical and do-able in today’s work environment. So I’m curious to know if you think you’ll be able to pause and just observe. Please share your perspective by adding a comment below.