Today’s leaders are discovering the transformative power of compassionate leadership—a set of qualities that extend beyond the traditional metrics of success and lead to more engaged teams, healthier work cultures, and sustainable growth. The days of leadership being synonymous with command and control are irretrievably gone.
In recent years, a different kind of leadership, centered on empathy and understanding, has gained prominence and is frequently discussed. Are we slowly entering an era where understanding and compassion will harmonize with vision and strategy?
What does it mean to lead with compassion?
Leading with compassion at its core entails understanding, empathizing, and connecting with team members on a human level. It involves recognizing that behind every role and task is a person with their own joys, difficulties, and ambitions. As a leader, this approach allows me to delve deeper, creating an environment where every team member feels acknowledged, heard, and supported.
Empathy plays a central role in compassionate leadership, providing the ability to “step into the shoes” of others, actively listen, and respond with understanding. Compassionate leaders are not solely focused on end goals; they are equally invested in the well-being and development of their team members.
Why does compassionate leadership matter?
Firstly, it fosters trust and loyalty. When employees feel their leaders genuinely care about them, a sense of trust and commitment is cultivated, forming close-knit teams that seamlessly work together toward common goals. Additionally, compassionate leadership fuels motivation and commitment among employees. Leaders celebrate successes, recognize efforts, and offer support during obstacles, maintaining motivation and fostering a positive work environment.
It’s crucial to note that compassionate leadership extends beyond providing support in difficult times. The goal is to create a culture where kindness, respect, and inclusion thrive. Compassionate leaders embrace diversity and make space for different perspectives and experiences to be heard and developed.
Leaders celebrate successes, recognize efforts, and offer support during obstacles, maintaining motivation and fostering a positive work environment.
How can we lead with compassion?
It begins with self-awareness. Leading with empathy requires each of us to understand our own feelings, strengths, and weaknesses. Daily active listening, demonstrating humility, and embracing vulnerability are characteristics that contribute to building honest and strong relationships. Additionally, integrating compassion into organizational processes and policies, focusing on employee well-being, offering mentorship programs, and designing open communication channels are initiatives that bring compassion into work environments.
Leadership is undergoing a transformation where qualities such as empathy, understanding, and genuine concern for the people behind the roles take center stage. Compassionate leadership is not a passing trend but a dynamic shift towards a more human-centered, sustainable, and successful way of leading in an ever-changing work environment. As leaders, let’s embrace this change and pave the way for a brighter and more empathetic future.
The text is signed by Rosa Tapini, Head of People Operations, Skroutz.
First published in HR Professional magazine, January 2024.
Roza Tapini is the Head of People Operations of Skroutz. Prior to joining Skroutz, she worked at Tripsta, one of the biggest travel agencies in Greece, holding several positions over the years, from HR Manager to Compensation and Benefits Manager.
In her early years, she held positions in different kinds of companies as Office Manager and HR assistant. Roza is volunteering as a career coach for groups of unemployed in 30 Community and as a mentor at Job Pairs, a non-profit organization focusing on mentoring and career guidance for young graduates.
Roza holds an MSc degree in Human Resources Management from Cardiff University and a BSc in Maritime Studies Piraeus University.