Ever since Chade-Meng Tan gave his TED Talk in 2010, compassion has become an important characteristic in the workplace. Are we comfortable discussing compassion? Webster defines compassion as "a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it." I hope that exists in the workplace, but I am just not so sure. Maybe we have 'a sympathetic consciousness of other's distress,' probably because we can sympathize and in some cases, even empathize, with what people might be going through, but do our leaders and coworkers really have a desire to alleviate our distress? I think that some people recognize the importance of helping others alleviate distress, but how far are leaders willing to go? Oh, I so want to delve into the question of whether or not it matters if our reasons are selfless when we offer help, but that will have to wait for another day! Are compassionate leaders encouraging their teams to care about the greater good? Chade-Meng Tan tells us in his TED Talk that caring about the greater good is a key ingredient in creating a compassionate workplace. Companies that put an emphasis on caring for communities and have a passion for the greater good are quite successful at creating a workplace where people show they care about one another. Autonomy is also cited as a necessary component in creating a compassionate atmosphere. In my experience, autonomy requires a level of trust that some companies have difficulty affording to employees, but when companies let go of control and trust, people tend to flourish in their roles. Self-awareness and a focus on inner growth also plays a large role in creating a compassionate workplace. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review by Adam Robinson, a study of over 1000 business leaders found that leaders who led with compassion produced teams that were superior. "Teams led by compassionate leaders exhibited better intra-team collaboration, stronger commitment to the company, and far lower turnover rates than those led by less-compassionate leaders"(https://www.inc.com/adam-robinson/according-to-harvard-this-1-leadership-trait-separates-exceptional-leaders-from-rest.html). Take a listen to Chade-Meng Tan's TED Talk, he makes a compelling case for compassion and ends his talk with this wonderful quote!
"If you want others happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." - Dalai Lama