Insights, articles and videos about Compassionate Leadership

What is Compassionate Leadership

Lately more and more people have been asking me what Compassionate Leadership is. Instead of repeating myself over and over again, I thought it would make sense to write this article. Compassion and Leadership Let’s start with the two words that are in the title. Compassion To me compassion is being able to be with someone or a situation without judging it. It is about creating and holding the space [...]

A New View on Tension in the Workplace

HR manager Jake and Chief Financial Officer Robert constantly fight. They don’t agree on anything. When Jake is asked about Robert, he calls him a robot without a heart. When Robert is asked about Jake, he describes him as a difficult person who is constantly picking on him and always resists his suggestions. The tension between the two doesn’t only affect the atmosphere in the board room, but has also spread to their departments. Whenever someone of the HR [...]

Sympathy, Empathy and Compassion

When we talk about compassion as a feeling or an attitude, it is of major importance to make a difference between sympathy, empathy and compassion. They are not the same, but they are used by many people as synonyms. This creates confusion and undermines the real power of compassion. Let’s look at an example. I will use the word ‘suffering’ here since that makes the example more clear. However, the same dynamics occur with smaller tensions. Iris arrives at [...]

Primary versus Secondary Emotions

Is it always easy to go and stay in a centered, compassionate mode? No, it surely isn’t. In this blog post I will address another reason why we don’t go into compassion mode. Actually, why we don’t choose ANY of the three approaches (sympathy, empathy, compassion). That reason is: the difference between primary and secondary emotions. Primary Emotions Primary emotions are a direct reaction to an event from the outside. A characteristic of these real, direct [...]

Growth and Occupied Development Points

All growth happens naturally. Actually we don’t need anything to start or support growth. However, what does happen on that natural path, is trial and error. Whenever an error is made, an injury or block can emerge. When that happens, it can be looked at or it can be ignored or dismissed. Whenever it is ignored or dismissed, it occupies development points. Those points are stored in the unconscious and not available anymore for further growth. When there are [...]

What is a Compassionate Leader?

When a term is coined, there are as many definitions and interpretations as there are people. Personally I don't like to give a one sentence description, but more a summary of traits. For me, a Compassionate Leader is someone: Who knows what compassion is - and is not - and lives accordingly. Who is vulnerable (which is a source of strength to be present with someone). Who knows what their stress factors are and is able to deal with them. [...]

Dealing with Grief

Grieving is a part of human life. However, it is not something we do well in the West. Most of us don’t take time for it, don’t allow it to each other and also don’t know how it actually works. In the West we have banned decay and death out of our lives. We put elderly people in retirement homes where we don’t see them pass away. It is only when someone in our family or a close [...]