If I only had a heart - "Being Human" Series | Article 1

My business ethos has always been about "being human" Take a look at our last blog "Have Things Changed as a Leader?" Now as a result of COVID and the pandemic this phrase seems to be very much front of mind.  For me as a leader this should always have been a focus, and it is disheartening to think it takes something so awful to bring a way of being and behaving, to the front of peoples' minds.

Other phrases with a similar meaning you may have heard mention increasingly within HR circles are "compassionate leadership"; "authentic leadership".  

In the summer of last year, Google was the first major global company to formally extend working from home (WFH) to it's 200,000 employees until at least the summer of 2021.  Google's CEO was praised at the time as demonstrating the traits of a "compassionate leader", in his memo to employees explaining his working from home thinking. 

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Compassion means "suffering together", according to Dr Ryan Sherman, Hogan Assessments.  Sherman argues that from their traits research, the extent to which leaders show compassion is 50% genetics and 50% influenced by experience.  At the heart, it is about leaders trying to understand what it is like to be in someone else's position.

For me personally when delivering any leadership or management training/development, I have always encouraged leaders to "put themselves" in the other persons' shoes.  This trait is strongly associated with creating "trust"; a small word that has a massive impact in terms of the culture and deliverables of teams and companies.

Not so long ago compassion was seen as a leadership weakness, however for me personally it is a trait that sees differences as strengths, and therefore when organisations are being challenged to stop making excuses and find diverse talent, should this not be a trait/behavior that is valued?  According to neuroscientist Keiron Sparrowhawk, at an organisational level demonstrating compassionate leadership is "essentially about creating a culture that says you care".

What will this mean for the leaders that will need to lead people through the pandemic to the new world; new way of working; new norm?  I am intrigued to be a part of this journey.  For the cynics out there, and there will be some, what I am not saying is that you don't not hold people to account and let people off the hook.  However, as a leader or manager, you do have to be more compassionate to be able to bring people together and re-inspire them around new shared goals.

Realise that the world has changed and that autocratic; "command and control leadership doesn't work;

Aspire to be a leader that will mean you will influence others to be compassionate; and 

Do adapt/break a habit and help change what makes a great leader!

Blog Posts

  • I first met Paul at an The Art of Work Ltd event a few months back and we instantly connected and then realised we had quite a few things in common.  Paul's passion is in delivering mental health awareness to individuals and companies from a heartfelt desire to make a difference.  I am so glad Paul agreed to write a guest blog.  Thank you Paul!

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  • I was on holiday the other week with my family and I was thinking of what we could do to make our “holiday” different from what has become our “normal” working from home (WFH) and virtual schooling.

  • Sunday morning and it is lovely to not rush up; however, I still reach for my iPhone to read my emails and articles on LinkedIn.  Though perhaps not the best thing to be doing, and reflecting on what is the mental impact on me about doing this??  However, I do read some great articles that give me inspiration and ideas for my blogs.  This morning was no exception!

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    Last week talking to friends and clients about how they were feeling the words that kept coming back to me were "psychological safety". The word "Psychological Safety" may currently be topical, although we have long discussed the "Psychological Contract" within HR and for me the two are very much linked.  Without "the belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes", how can any employee or member of staff feel they have a connection to an organisation? 
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    Working with some coaching clients at the moment where their focus is on career transition and catching up with people in my network, it is great to see for a significant number of people - a "new year; new role".  It got me thinking that for a lot of people, last year could have made them reflect about what they do now?  Is their current role aligned to their values?  Or they may simply be saying each day "what on earth am I doing?"