Why is compassion so powerful? Because it’s about mindset. If you approach a situation with a specific mindset, the likely outcome of that situation is highly dependent on the mindset of the individuals involved.
Imagine this, a new employee or team member messes up a major presentation and risks losing the pitch or the client. Your blood boils as you get upset, you say to yourself “they really should have known better, they said they’ve done this before” Imbecile! I’m going to let them have a piece of my mind.
So after the presentation, you decide you are going to have a “word” with them. Except, you are going into this little chat with an agitated mindset. To try to bring success and positivity from that mindset is going to be hard because once we have the inertia of emotion it takes conscious effort to change it. As you go at them for messing up the presentation, the likely response of this person will be defensiveness (people are forced to defend themselves when they feel attacked, it’s human nature) and then you will want to attack more because you feel they are not “getting it”. The situation might escalate, you might be victorious in this battle and they might leave slightly deflated after the encounter with their confidence lowered and their motivation shot for the rest of the day, if not the rest of the week. Then you may feel regret or remorse afterwards because winning this battle didn’t actually make you feel any better.
Now picture this, you think to yourself, this person really stuffed up the presentation….but you know they usually work hard and are committed to the team and the work you do. You think to yourself “I wonder if they are ok? I wonder if perhaps they were nervous or something was going on for them that made them drop the ball?”
You engage with your compassionate self and then you approach them. You might say something like.. “hey are you ok? I noticed you were quite nervous during that presentation, how do you feel that went? Do you want to talk about it?” Is there anything I could have done to help you prepare better?”
The likelihood of a positive outcome from a compassionate conversation is much higher. This person knows that you, as their people leader/manager cares about them. Not only will this increase their confidence but also their resolve to make sure the next presentation is better than the last because they don’t want to let you or themselves or the team down.
People are smart, they will know when they are winning and they will know when they dropped the ball. The outcome of genuine compassion in conversations, especially when something went wrong, will create a feeling of safety and support within your team and will actually encourage higher performance in the long run.
It’s one of the most powerful mindset changes I’ve seen in businesses and time and time again, those with high levels of compassion (read EQ) tend to have tighter knit and better-performing teams.
If you’ve experienced compassion or lack of compassion in the workplace, share your experiences below and let’s all encourage more compassion in the workplace.
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