Merge's Blog

Why should you create a more compassionate workplace?

In today’s blog post, I’m kicking off a brand-new video tip series on tools to create a more compassionate workplace.  This is the first of several videos this year on this topic.

Does a compassionate workplace make a difference?

A logical place to start is why.  Why should you, as a leader, care about creating a more compassionate workplace?  Well because, quite simply, it will lead to a whole bunch of other outcomes that you care about as a leader.  Research shows that those organizations that operate with compassion have employees with greater job satisfaction and less stress. Workplace compassion also promotes employee engagement, dedication, and loyalty. It gets better: employees who work together with compassion are more likely to cooperate and help each other out.

Bottom line, focusing on creating a compassionate workplace encourages healthy interpersonal relationships. It allows people to recognize and appreciate others sincerely, and work to benefit your organization instead of just themselves. It makes people feel like they are part of a team. It reduces pressure and anxiety, as well as makes them more resilient to stress and burnout. Now if these aren’t things you want in your teams, then I don’t know what is!

Shift from sympathy to empathy to compassion

I’ve often heard the words sympathy, empathy, and compassion come up in this context.  Many people use them interchangeably, but they actually mean different things.  Let me clarify this for you, because if you are committed to creating a more compassionate workplace, which I hope you are, then it is important that you know that these three words are different.

  • Sympathy is equivalent to “I understand your problem.” It is cognitive.  It is when you feel sorry for the person who has experienced misfortune.  It usually translates into pity, and while it may be an admirable emotion, it does nothing for the individual who is in physical or emotional pain.  It
  • Empathy is equivalent to “I feel what you feel”. It is when you actually try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to feel what they are feeling.  It goes beyond sympathy, and when you acknowledge the pain being felt by the other person, it can be helpful to them.
  • Compassion is equivalent to “I want to help you out of this.” It has a motivational component or drive.  It is when you not only experience empathy, but you take action to alleviate the other person’s pain and suffering, whether physical or emotional.  It could be holding someone’s hand and sitting in silence, or bringing a warm blanket, or offering a meal.

Compassion is the most critical leadership skill in the post-pandemic world

Now those of you who have followed the blog for a while know that I have repeatedly spoken and written about the importance of empathy in leaders, even going as far as to say that it is the most critical leadership skill in the post-pandemic workplace.  Well, I have officially changed that statement.

“Compassion in the workplace is the most critical leadership skill in the post-pandemic world.”

In each future videos in this series, I will focus on giving you one specific and practical technique you can use to create a more compassionate workplace.  One idea which, if you implement, will help you create a high-performing and more productive team.  I don’t yet know exactly how many of these video blogs I’ll do but I hope that by the time this year is over, you’ll have a useful library of practical tools in your toolbox, all designed to boost workplace compassion.

So I hope you’re excited – I certainly am – and that you’ll stay tuned for this series.  If you’ve got specific questions you want answered or topics you want covered, please either add it below, or drop me a line.

P.S. If you haven’t had a chance to skim through the great collection of tip videos we did last year on tools to build resiliency in your employees, then make sure you do.  I’ve been told that they’re very helpful!

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