Compassionate leadership and employee engagement


We all know that leaders have the ability to make or break an organisation. We also know that leaders need to possess certain qualities to succeed in their role other than simply being go-getters. The usual desirable qualities on the list are: decisiveness, dynamism, orientation to change, and the ability to influence, among other qualities that seem to reflect a readiness to act or take action at all times.

Being nice was never expected of leaders, because this quality is known to actually hinder leadership.

Leaders have been known to be the reason behind employees remaining loyal or quitting the company. While toxic leaders can make life hell for employees, compassionate leaders can put the smile back on the faces of the employees.

Clearly, kind and compassionate leaders have a significant role in keeping employees engaged and contented. Let us look at some of the positive effects that leaders with compassion have on the organisation and employee engagement.

Earning employees’ trust

Kind leaders, that is, leaders who speak kindly and use kind words and actions, easily gain the trust of their employees. The unkind or cold ones, on the other hand, will seem unapproachable to their employees. In the presence of such uptight leaders, employees will always try to be cautious, and with time, they will end up not trusting anyone in the organisation and may even begin to doubt their own abilities.

Focussing on comfort

Compassionate leaders focus more on the employees’ comfort. They will also be more open to altering the systems and hierarchies to make work easier for everyone, giving flexibility to the managers and their teams. And flexibility in any organisation is known to ensure better employee engagement.

Instilling a sense of belongingness

Leaders with compassion manage to instil in the employees a feeling of belongingness. And when employees feel they are an integral part of the organisation, they will be fully engaged, and not just superficially. Compassionate leaders have the ability to share with the employees the success of the organisation and recognise the employees’ contribution. By assigning them projects that contribute significantly and visibly to the organisational success, such leaders ensure total employee engagement.

Creating an open culture

Compassionate leadership promotes an open culture in the organisation. A culture where employees are given the freedom to think and express themselves. A workplace where everyone’s voice is heard and everyone’s views valued. Also, compassionate leaders are more likely be open-minded and to ensure that employees from diverse cultures and even nationalities are included in the workforce.

Exhibiting qualities of transparency, accountability and honesty

Good leaders tend to exhibit honesty and transparency in their actions and words and do not run away from responsibility. They admit to mistakes, if any, and even apologise for the same. These are qualities that employees notice, appreciate and most importantly, emulate. Employees look up to their compassionate leaders and try to become like them. If these leaders possess good qualities, they automatically inspire the workforce to also imbibe the same.

With the buzz around employee engagement increasing with each passing day, may be organisations should focus on compassionate leadership to ensure that their workforce is fully engaged.

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