Recently I was at a social event where the topic of effective/ineffective leadership was raised. Since moving into a work world where compassionate leadership is a “given,” I was flabbergasted that so many individuals are still struggling under the heavy burden of higher ups, supervisors and big cheeses who can’t seem to create a sense of teamwork. I thought that SURELY with all of the lecturing, youtubing, TED talking and authoring most individuals in leadership roles had gotten the memo that being a dictator, hard-ass or uncommunicative wimp was not in the best interest of a group.
Some of these same leaders who still live in the old world style of beat ‘em down or throw ‘em out wonder why other companies and individuals are more effective in achieving long term results, satisfaction and (yes) profits.
Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with a little kindness, is there? Yes, while holding all in the team to standards and metrics, it IS possible to be kind and dare I say it, even love the individuals on the team.
Those who suffer under the heavy burden of strong arm tactics wonder why leaders act as they do. Why is this guy or gal such a jerk and expect to achieve prosperity and lofty goals. The answer is pretty simple, really.
Without going deeply into this topic (this is where a therapist would help!) the simple reality is that FEAR drives individuals to act in ways less than kind. Fear of many/few things. Fear of failure. Fear of being discovered as less than competent as a leader. Fear of not living up to expectations of spouse/parents/friends/peers. It doesn’t take years of therapy to realize that fear is at the heart of most negative behavior. And the tougher the leader acts, the more fear that is buried in there somewhere.
Compassion is actually our natural state of being. We come into this world wanting to connect sincerely and deeply with others. As humans on this great planet, we live and work and play together. And compassion makes it all a wonderful life. Want your peers to work as a team in harmony and pulling together toward the same goals (as long as the goals are good ones)? Simple, but not easy. Compassion.