Some leaders are jerks.
The good news is, you can have heart and lead.
Steven Kydd, one of the founders of Tastemade, a top 10 most innovative company in food, surprised me when our conversation drifted to a personal story.
Our middle son was taking a shower in Kathmandu when the 7.8 earthquake hit last April. Fortunately, he ended up in the street uninjured, wrapped in a towel.
Steven’s response was spontaneous, compassionate, and human. Yes, you can lead and still be a real person. As a matter of fact, the most outstanding leaders I know aren’t hard asses.
Listen in on our conversation (4:28):
7 ways to lead with compassion:
- Courageously commit to be human. We all know posturing and image-building is fear and fakery. The world doesn’t need another fraud, it needs you.
- Connect with yourself. Steven’s compassion toward me came from his experience as a father. Compassion for others is born in personal experiences, struggles, and challenges. Have you failed? Embrace it. Do you struggle? Feel it.
- Allow others to feel. Don’t minimize emotion. Say, “I see this means a lot to you,” for example.
- Rise above your inner fixer. Let yourself feel compassion, but don’t feel the need to fix everyone. Fixing people is more arrogance than compassion.
- Be tough and compassionate at the same time. Fear makes us believe that saying hard things requires detachment. It’s the opposite. The tougher you have to be, the more tenderness you must feel.
- Beware drama. Some use emotion to gain attention. They’re energy vampires. Be tough with those who persist in “woe is me” behaviors.
- Commit to more than results. Work to enhance the well-being of teammates, employees, customers, and the larger community.
Successful leaders enhance the well-being of others.
What makes compassion uncomfortable to leaders?
What does leading with compassion look like?
**Steven Kydd is speaking at the World Business Forum in New York City. Don’t miss it.