It’s easy to give up on team members or colleagues when they don’t meet our expectations. When co-workers don’t pull through in the way we thought they would or should, we often become angry or feel let down. We even may become defensive and be ready to go on the attack.
Have you faced any of these frustrating situations in your workplaces or collaborations?
- Missing information for a project
- Deadlines that are ignored or miscalculated
- Being omitted from an important email
- Not being part of a team decision
- Overlooked to be part of a Happy Hour after work
Many of these actions may not be a deliberate stab at us, yet we may interpret them that way. Our first thoughts turn to feeling slighted or not valued. But instead of jumping to the conclusion that we are being left out on purpose, we can choose to readjust our thinking. We can decide to swap out our anger for compassion. We can choose to model compassionate leadership.
Seven choices to compassionate leadership:
1. Look at the facts
When we sense that others haven’t quite kept us in mind in a process or decision, take a hard look at what is actually taking place. Is it possible that information was left out of a report because it was never received or clearly stated it was necessary? Was the gathering after work an impromptu thought not deliberately exclusive? What is the truth and examine if we have contributed to the dilemma in any way. Show compassion.
2. Accept imperfection from others
We all make mistakes and we all have bad days. Maybe our teammate just forgot to include some information or didn’t realize the significance of the data. Maybe we were left off of the email erroneously and all we need to do is remind them that we should be included next time. Show compassion.
3. Don’t jump to conclusions
It is so common to make assumptions about the actions taken by the people we work with daily. Step back before jumping and ask:
- Am I being judgy about why important information was excluded from this report?
- Was I not invited to attend the Happy Hour because people didn’t want me there or was it just an oversight?
- Was I deliberately left out of that team decision because my opinions don’t count or perhaps they didn’t ask everyone due to a time constraint?
Whatever you think, breathe and make sure you are not running in a false direction. Show compassion.
4. Meet to share feelings
When we are not feeling valued we need to talk to our co-workers or colleagues and share our thoughts. I know when I have felt unappreciated and approached the person who I perceived wronged me, I felt more empowered. Just letting them know that I give them the benefit of the doubt and care about working with them in a productive way, can forge a deeper relationship. Show compassion.
5. Partner to realign
If we sense a “disconnect” with a colleague, offer to help them meet a deadline or roll up your sleeves and complete the project with them. Then suggest ways to improve the outcome or develop stronger procedures. Take the first step. Show compassion.
6. Model new procedures or actions
Once new standards are set, lead by using those new processes or behaviors.
- Exhibit ways to include all co-workers on team decisions by asking each person for their ideas about a project
- Volunteer to arrange the next social team event and make sure all teammates are invited
- When information is mistakenly excluded, demonstrate how you might go about obtaining the data
7. Help create a compassionate culture
Recent research shows that having a culture of compassion may not only build a happier workplace but also improve an organization’s bottom line. When we are supportive of one another there is often higher performance because team members feel valued and appreciated for their contributions and want to add more. Show compassion.
How have you brought compassion to your leadership?