Compassion at work allows us to see, acknowledge and hold the experiences, feelings and challenges of others. We can be present with others in a caring way, building bridges, creating safe space for risk, creativity, vulnerability, and hence, innovation.
Does it make us “soft?” Apparently not. It turns out compassion is innate in all of us, a function of our motor cortex. It is nurtured in us, or not. Activating it serves our immune system, connects remote areas of our brain, making us smarter. As adults we are faced with the choice of exercising it, and the consequences of not. We learn to hold things like compassion at home, in our communities, but not to bring it to work. People won’t take us seriously. We’ll never get ahead, or demonstrate we know how to ‘play the game.’
Yet, we all agree the ‘game’ needs to change. It’s not really working anyway, is it? We see how Costco’s compassion engages and transforms results- we see the Red Cross operate with compassion, and we think, “well of COURSE they HAVE TO! They are dealing with human lives!”
So am I, so are you. People manufacture products. People lead improvement. People offer service. We work beside, for, and with PEOPLE every day. Let’s experiment with compassion together- and the possibility that it builds more of what we and our team and organizations need, not less.