I make a living helping organizations plan for their future. I started my career as a marketing strategist. I was responsible for helping my sales and marketing teams better understand what might happen and when lucky, extremely lucky, I would be given a chance to help create the future for our families and communities. It was a humbling experience. Things were always changing. It taught me to have compassion.
Today, I’m a IBM Internet of Things Futurist. This means I spend significant time helping leaders better understand what the future holds for them, their families, their companies, our communities, and our world. I help bring the human side to many emerging technologies. One of my role models for my approach to life is the Dalai Lama. He teaches that compassion is great foundation for creating trust with many different stakeholders in our global community.
The more time I spend in the future, the more I believe serving leaders need to have compassion, not only for their stakeholders, but themselves. It not that serving leaders never make mistakes, we do. It’s that we must enter our relationships with others with more compassion. Are you up to this challenge?
I can’t always predict what challenges you will face over the next several years as a leader or in life. However, I can help cultivate your compassion. Compassionate leaders live and accomplish more with their lives. So how can we all become more compassionate leaders?
I share several key qualities in hopes to help you become a more compassionate person. They not only make you a stronger leader, but a better person, friend, entrepreneur, or parent. These qualities have been used by serving leaders for a very long time. They will help you leave a lasting impact on the people you serve with your life.
The first quality of compassion is gratitude. When you learn to be grateful for everything that happens in your life, you become a more joyful leader. People who are grateful find things just keep getting better. Gratitude allows you to see the positive in everything that happens. I find positive and negative is all a state of mind.
This doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen, they do. It means a person who lives in grace can find some glimmer of positive that they hold on to. This attitude allows them incredible emotional resilience, no matter what is going on around them. Leaders who give thanks attract good people on their teams.
The second quality of compassion is forgiveness. Learning how to forgive others is critical to good leadership. Once you learn to forgive others, you begin seeing people in a different way. It’s almost as if they become different people. When you begin to forgive others, you reach a different level with your leadership.
I may not need to say this, but I will. Learn to forgive yourself. When people are struggling with their lives, it’s because they are unwilling to forgive themselves. The more you forgive yourself, the more quickly you become a better leader of yourself and others. We all makes mistakes, learning to learn and grow from them is the foundation of an extraordinary leader.
The third quality of compassion is caring for others. As a leader, if you choose to care for others you will always be able to find great people to work with you. Caring for others is the foundation of a strong connect ion with other people in your life. To me, compassion means you have empathy for another person.
As a compassionate leader, I must be willing to share what I see even when it’s difficult. It is critical for a compassionate leader to know how to provide feedback to the people they work with. Compassionate leaders are good at bringing out the best in others.
Today, people want to feel connected to their leaders. It means that a serving leader must be willing to share themselves with others. To me, this means that I am willing to understand what may be happening in another’s life. Learning to be a compassionate person provides you endless joy and satisfaction in your role as leader.
Caring means I choose to respect the people in my life enough to hear what is being said on a deeper level. Compassion provides leaders a bridge to where they are so we can walk with them along their path. By being willing to grow together, we build a better world together for future generations.
The final quality of compassion is a well-developed sense of humor. I’ve never met a compassionate leader who didn’t have a sense of humor. Today, with all the changes going on in our world, it is critical to have a sense of humor. Humor humanizes the compassionate leader. If I can laugh with you, I know I can trust you. Compassionate leaders understand how important trust is to build a lasting organization.
I believe, and many leaders I work with believe, trust cannot occur without compassion. As change in our world accelerates, we must become masters of compassion, not only for others, but yourself.
Want to learn more about the Dalai Lama and his fascinating life?
See you next week.