Let’s talk about fear, faith and compassion in the context of your corporate leadership. Yes. Let’s go there.
Fear first. Even if you’re at the highest point in your career, there’s a certain jungle mentality inherent to the corporate structure that can consume you. And I’m not necessary talking about your line-hierarchy, (I was so tempted to make it lion-hierarchy), I’m talking about your inner fears and insecurities that someone might catch on that you don’t have the answer to everything.
The truth is no one knows anything for certain. We can’t even guarantee that we’ll be around tomorrow much less that the books will balance, or that our next big idea will actually cure cancer. We just don’t know, and yet we are asked as leaders, to act as if.
Faith is the antidote to fear and that can be awkward when it comes to corporate culture. Concepts of faith and corporation can successfully merge however where faith is introduced to the workplace as self-compassion. We drop from head to heart and invite faith in, by first showing compassion for our people. Acknowledging that if we’re scared as leaders, they are terrified. When you pour a little kindness into how you manage and motivate and not just fake it for a result, the timeless spiritual principles activate and magic happens.
You care about your staff, and they care about you. You start to govern by love, and your team works harder. It’s alchemy in action. Performance levels rise when people feel seen and heard and cared for. As the intangible balance of trust starts to rise, your people show up for you better. A more authentic human approach to creativity and problem-solving emerges.
In a recent article, Emma Seppala, Associate Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University shared:
“Managers may shy away from compassion for fear of appearing weak. Yet history is filled with leaders who were highly compassionate and very powerful—Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, and Desmond Tutu, to name a few. They were such strong and inspiring leaders that people would drop everything to follow them. Wouldn’t any manager wish for that kind of loyalty and commitment?”
A word of caution, the compassion formula doesn’t cut it for everybody. It’s important that you pick the right people to work for you, who value this nourishing spiritual currency and who don’t perceive your kindness as weakness. The “right” people wouldn’t perhaps be your first pick as employees, but they should be if you are quick to distinguish between self-esteem and entitlement, as they are high in self-esteem, already value and respect themselves and are big into self-care. They become your self-compassion teachers.
When it comes to allowing faith as compassion into your workplace it takes courage, vulnerability, flexibility and time to learn how. But what you find for your investment is that work has a gentler, easier feel about it and all areas of your life and those you work with are enriched, meaning better friendships, family, and bottom line results. Isn’t that the picture you’re looking for?