Bullies aren’t Strong and Compassion isn’t Weak
Great results require toughness. The belief that compassion is soft and toughness gets results explains why so little compassion exists in organizations.
I’m an either/or type person, it’s my nature. I wrongly believe combining contrasting qualities weakens both. But, toughness and compassion are perfect bedfellows.
Bullies aren’t strong and compassionate leaders aren’t weak.
Toughness infuses compassion with meaning.
Lowering achievable expectations isn’t compassion; it’s disrespect. Compassionate leaders respect talent by calling people to rise and meet challenges. Stretching is belief in potential.
Compassion’s toughness is seen in conflict. Weakness ignores or runs from conflict. Compassion faces conflict head on.
Compassion includes super-stars and rising-stars in its inner circle. Reach beyond how others enhance your image; consider how you enhance theirs.
Toughness requires supportive environments.
Heart of compassion:
Compassion springs from authenticity. Phonies fear and reject compassion. Authentic leaders accept their own frailties and abilities, in so doing; they open their hearts to others.
Accepting weaknesses is the first step toward maximizing strengths. Phony leaders don’t accept weaknesses and seldom maximize strengths.
Realize or release:
Compassion realizes potential in others; if not, it reassigns or releases. Expecting achievement extends compassion. “I believe in you,” expresses compassion.
Toughness expects people to pull heavy loads. Compassion pulls with them.
Great feedback on Facebook: “Compassionate leaders ______.”
How are you bringing compassion and toughness together?
What examples of compassion and toughness have you seen?
Bullies and compassionate leaders are two pole of magnets.One attracts, other distracts. One is positively charged, other is negatively charged. So when you combine both, it is multiplied and produce negative result. I believe that ” Bullies are strong and compassionate leaders are weak” but it is only perception. Reality is actually opposite.
I believe compassionate instils toughness. Toughness always comes from boldness and boldness from confidence. So, compassionate and toughness generally walk together. As a leader, you can bring together compassion and toughness by creating a feeling of compassion first. When feeling is percolated across mind and hearts of people, leaders can use toughness. While exercising toughness, leaders maintain the feeling of compassionate. So, people do not take it otherwise. They show the concern for being tough. One simple example that I can relate with compassion and toughness that leaders in organization do or should do. They should provide all guidance, support and resources, mentoring, coaching and training to employees but when it comes to violations, deviation and flouting, leaders should not treat with compassion. Instead they should be tough to deal with such behavior. This provide a example for others and also makes leader more strong and effective.
As always, thanks for joining and sharing your insights.
My nugget from your contribution is begin with compassion. Love that!
I am intentional about being strong and compassionate. It is a fine line that requires skill.
Here is one of my personal stories on failing, and then correcting: http://toddliles.com/the-leaders-problem-with-being-too-focused-on-the-future.html
Thanks for extending the conversation.
My pleasure. I like this one. It gets a tweet today.
Hi Dan, I believe that you can be tough and compassionate at the same time; it is definitely not easy but especially as a woman in a leadership role in a man’s environment, you need this to be respected and get things done. 😉
I’ve noticed that compassionate leaders often do not notice the extent of the power that their quality of character generates. The tremendous level of influence they are able to achieve is as intrinsic to them as breathing. You will never hear them boast in it, see them abuse it or despair as they leverage it for personal gain. They simply live consistently as they are and concurrently lift up everyone around them.
I agree with you so much! I am a compassionate leader. I know that. Compassionate is not the same as weak though some people would want you to believe that. I believe compassionate leaders are inclusive. They value diversity in personalities and skills and work to find the sweet spot that pulls them all together!
Even though the thesaurus lists bully and tough as synonymous, I have had many tough teachers who were not a bully. So, I do not see those two words as completely interchangeable.
Perhaps we can have tough compassion, but not bullied compassion. I do think bullies expect/demand that others to pull more than their load…and often the bully’s load too.
Another measure may be transparency. Being a bully is done in the shadows of ill-perceived power. Being compassionate or even compassionately tough can be done in the light. In such light, the foundation of respect can be seen and can sustain.
May I suggest a further resource to learn more about empathy and compassion.
The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
The Culture of Empathy website is the largest internet portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews, videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.
Great post Dan. Having thick skin as a leader is essential. Thanks for sharing!
I try to get my young leaders to understand a leader is compassionately tough. Or, as I teach them, respectful in accountability. I expect them to hold their direct reports accountable to established goals. And to be firm, supportive and respectful in helping their direct reports be successful. We practice the Golden Rule.
After all, that’s why I recruited them into a leadership position, to make their team successful. A successful leader is the one who pushes the team across the finish line just ahead of themselves.
Compassion isn’t BEING weak.
Great post Dan.
Great words docdisc (above) about the work of bullies being done in the shadows of ill-perceived power. Those bosses who say: MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY often end up driving alone. Joe Egan – Author – http://www.joeegan.com
Reblogged this on THE tony d and commented:
Dan Rockwell with another good post. Compassionate leaders ______ .