There are a lot of aspects to a proper leadership mindset — but it’s not all about your rational thoughts and productivity. You’ll find that truly successful leaders do just as much leading with their hearts — and that means showing compassion. To paraphrase Ken Poirot — give compassion, because everyone fights epic, untold battles every day, just to survive.
A Compassionate Mindset
That quote rings especially true when you take a moment to stop and think about your own daily lives. As we go through them, we all fight huge internal battles all the time, especially when we’re doing things right. And even the bravest leader might be silently struggling with plenty of their own troubles.
If you want to be a leader people respect and aspire to, you need to realize that others on your team are struggling with their internal battles just as much. Whether it’s a medical situation, marital troubles, or something you can’t even think of — it’s still there, and they’re still coping with it day in and day out, as they do their jobs.
The amount of stress that this imparts upon each and every one of us shouldn’t be underestimated. When we have severe financial troubles, severe health issues, or a momentary tragedy, what do our friends, neighbors, and family do? They provide support, they help us out with practical stuff — but most importantly, they show compassion and love.
This is the exact mindset that every leader must have when interacting with people that work for and with them. And most importantly, you must never underestimate the traumatic experience those people are going through. Sure, they may not be going through the death of a loved one or cancer treatment — but you can bet that whatever they’re going through feels immense and significant to them.
Connect with People
So, what does all of the above mean in practice? You need to slow down, and take the time to connect with people. Only then will you be able to see where they’re coming from, in an emotional sense. And in doing that, you’re adjusting your mindset to a more understandable one. Otherwise, all you’ll have are emotions of frustration and anger due to someone on your team not getting stuff done.
And sure, someone might just be slacking. But if you notice a small clue that something is not right with them, you need to be a responsible leader and find out if there’s something wrong. In most cases, people that are dealing with something won’t just tell you about it themselves — you need to ask the right questions. Open the door to emotional understanding and genuinely connect with them.
For example, you could share a small anecdote or frustration from your own private life, showing them they have the freedom to speak about theirs. You need to tap into that ability to show real human compassion and have an honest heart to heart.
You may not think this makes a difference at first, but you wouldn’t believe how useful this is in the long run. And if someone is dealing with something that you can help with and not go out of your way, doing it will mean the world to them. Plus, it will cement their loyalty and genuine appreciation for you as a leader.
Successful leaders have a bit of that “let me be of service” mindset — and all the good people around them appreciate it. In due time, you’ll feel an amazing ripple effect of understanding and a tighter team spirit around you. And most importantly: you’ll become a leader everyone wants to work for.
If you are interested in hearing more, make sure to check out my podcast Today’s Top Leaders.