Compassion and leadership – these two words don’t often go together in our post-modern culture.
There is a belief that we must be strong and tough to be effective and “softness” is often seen as a sign of weakness. This thinking is actually out of alignment with my lived experiences as a leader and goes against some of the best research available to us regarding leadership.
Brian Zahnd, author, captures the “spirit of the age” in this modern re-framing of the beatitudes of Jesus. He shares that the spirit of the age blesses the power-hungry who want to run the world, privilege-protectors, and the clever ones who come up with the best schemes. However, the spirit of Jesus blesses the meek who are willing to trust God, justice-seekers, and the pure-hearted who have no schemes.
What does this have to do with you, your leadership journey, and how are you are to lead right now?
SEE people – Jesus often saw the people that no one else saw. How well do you know your people? Do you actually see the people around you? What about the under-represented people on your team or the people in the “outgroups?” Everyone on your team deserves your attention.
FEEL the pain of others – Jesus didn’t simply stop at seeing people, he allowed the situation they were in to enter into his mind and penetrate his heart. How much of the struggle of life and of others are you allowing into your journey? Is your heart engaged with the struggling and suffering people in your community, or have you effectively shielded yourself from that pain?
HELP people – He saw with his eyes and felt with his heart, but it didn’t stop there. He moved with his hands and feet as well. That is the definition of compassion. It is moving beyond empathy and making the conscious choice to be motivated to help people.
Compassionate leaders truly SEE people, FEEL the pain of others, and they HELP.
Think on this: Had it not been for the compassion of Ruth, Naomi would have been abandoned and left without a friend. Had it not been for the compassion of Peter and Paul, the gospel may have never spread so rapidly to the Gentile world.
When you are compassionate, you are paying back the compassion that has been shown towards you. How
ever, you are also doing what’s in your best interest. When your team members know you care about them as people, they are far more engaged. There is power in your individual acts of compassion. I know it will make a noticeable, sustainable, and transferable difference in your workplace. But more importantly, it will help to soothe a hurting world. Amen.
“When JESUS saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)