Making Compassion Work

life preserver

Compassion is for the weak. Old school management expects results at all costs. No excuses.

“I know it’s tough. That’s why they call it work. Just get it done. Now get out of my office!”

Old school managers get opportunities, promotions, and pay raises. Why shouldn’t they? They deliver results.

Results validate your worth,
more results – more worth.


Compassion validates weakness. Weakness jeopardizes results. People who get the job done don’t need compassion they need opportunities.

Extending compassion makes you feel strong, even superior. Receiving compassion, on the other hand, suggests frailty. Strong people do whatever it takes. But, weak people need compassion.

Professionals don’t falter, struggle, or suffer. They deliver. Pros don’t need you. You need them.


The context of compassion is pain. Literally, compassion means to suffer with.

Compassion isn’t:

  1. Explaining away. “It’s not that bad.”
  2. Saying you caused this. “It’s your fault.” (Which is usually true.)
  3. Affirming another’s sense of helplessness. “It’s not your fault.”
  4. Lowering standards. “It’s just too hard.”

No room for compassion means no room for relationship.

Compassion is:

  1. Giving a sense of “with” while expecting performance.
  2. Saying, “You don’t seem like yourself today,” and listening.
  3. Not solving for. The need to solve fractures authentic relationships. Fixers are frustrated.
  4. Strengthening for the journey rather than validating low performance.
  5. Giving to and expecting from.

You’re out of business if you don’t deliver results.

Old school managers resort to management by decree.

“Just get it done!”

Compassion isn’t an excuse to not get it done.

Compassion is creating a “culture of with”
that enables extraordinary results.

How does compassion fit into organizational life?

How can leaders extend compassion and expect results at the same time?