The driving factors behind exceptional leadership consist of self-awareness, desire and most importantly – compassion. An effective form of leadership cannot develop if negative factors like dishonesty, denigration, frustration, micromanagement, manipulation and fear are predominant in an organizational culture. These negative factors may be creating high turnover for your organization along with lost motivation, morale, innovation, and profits.

In order to make a great organization, leaders (and managers) in organizations must possess empathy to inspire, impart knowledge, and gain understanding of their team members. Empathy is crucial for successful leadership! This can begin with forming an understanding of others by taking their experiences and perspectives into account. When this happens, positivity lowers defensive mechanisms and enables trust throughout the organization. Empathy has the power to reduce misunderstanding as it allows for open communication. It can soften people’s persona and motivate long-term success and productivity.

Work toward expressing this empathy as a leader by reflecting on these factors about yourself and take action:

No matter how great they believe they are, compassionate leaders still understand the fact that they are surrounded by other people who have brilliant ideas. When leaders start believing that they know everything, they have deprived themselves of new ideas. This is exactly why leadership requires learning. Good people are a leaders and managers best resource; they need to be treated like people though.

Removing Barriers and Improving Communication
Compassionate leaders always involve themselves in the daily routines of their teams. This facilitates reciprocal communication in the workplace as leaders come to know the emotional patterns of all of their team members. It also establishes a rhythm for routine communication and feedback about projects and initiatives streamlining the need for formal meetings. Leaders can then also effectively remove the defeatist thought processes of their employees so they can be more successful at their job. This will increase active engagement by employees in all the processes in your organization.


Compassionate leadership involves living to help each other and leaves no room for selfishness in the organization. These leaders will never bring up what their team members are doing wrong in a group environment but will find out what’s stopping them to reach their full potential. These leaders also leave no room for pessimism. Avoid mixing public criticism with praise whenever possible. Saying you did a good job with this, but…insert the criticism, while touted as a technique for sugarcoating negative feedback in a performance evaluation can also be strongly perceived as a form of manipulation.

Compassionate leaders will always strive for high ethical standards while expecting everyone in their team to do the same. By doing so, these leaders strive for nothing less than excellence and inspire their team members with high levels of integrity. While this keeps the morale levels of the workplace high, it also promises the trust and confidence of the team towards their leaders. Expressing humility and being able to acknowledge your own weaknesses will go a long way toward credibility.

These leaders always strive for influence and not authority. They also encourage instead of demand. They lead by creating confidence in their teams. They guide, acknowledge and help their team members with a combination of enthusiasm, passion, insights, talents, commitments, and skills. Again, these leaders operate with the purpose of making the lives of others better to encourage personal growth and development.

Purpose, Teamwork, and Unity

A compassionate leader recognizes that the greatest achievements in life cannot be achieved by just one person. Excellence should always be seen as a group effort – especially when the stakes are high. This is exactly why compassionate leaders should encourage organization wide understanding of the purpose and mission throughout their work units. This understanding and even experimenting with having people assigned to work on projects in your work units they do not normally work in will create a deeper unity and understanding amongst your team for how everyone works together to create success.

A Gallup survey completed last year has shown this approach to employee engagement results solid returns in productivity, innovation, and profits while infusing a tremendous positive energy into an organization’s culture. You can help lead this by adopting a more compassionate leadership style and approach.

What are you waiting for, start practicing this approach and you will see an immediate and positive response as individuals and teams at all levels of your organization become empowered. Check out the Gallup research at