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Compassionate Leadership

When I was a kid, I used to like Santa Clause because he used to give me gifts. I like him now because he give gifts to all kids. Giving gives happiness to us. This stems from compassion.

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One old lady used to come at our home to cook food in the evening. She had a lot of affection for me, my little sister, my father and my mother. After cooking, she used to very warmly and compassionately speak with us for 5 - 10 minutes, and then go back to her work. She had a small hut as her home. There was no fan, no furniture; just one small stove, mat and one lamp. 

In spite of this, she used to give us something to eat when we used to visit her. I think, she was one of the happiest persons I knew. Everyone used to happily speak with her, and offer whatever help she needed. She never needed any help because she did not have any needs. When she fell ill, people were competing to pay her bills.

I knew another lady. She was filthy rich. She had Rolls Royce, a big house with all material facilities. But, she was on antidepressants. (I don't really know why she was on medication). But, I realize that mental comfort is superior.

Money is important. No doubt we should earn well. But along with that, deepening connections with others and having compassionate outlook increases immunoglobulin A, induces happiness and well-being. Too much self-centered attitude and greed won't give peace of mind at the end of life.

Studies have shown that self-focused people are more socially withdrawn, brooding and even antagonist. Compassionate people, in contrast are generally found more sociable, flexible, creative and are able to tolerate life's daily more easily.

Can this also be translated in professional setting?

In long term, I feel, compassion competency will bring up new leaders who will be more creative, create culture of innovation, retain talent and strategically add value to employees, shareholders and business. Self-centered leaders may look for short-term brownie points, invest their energy in directly or indirectly deceving stakeholders, including customers and managers, fuel attrition and affect brand name.

Leaders! Listen, understand and cultivate compassionate workforce to serve stakeholders and yourself. Choice is yours!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Swapnil Pande

The author is a learning & development professional with the focus on behavior competency development. He has trained around 10, 000 professionals and 20,000 students. He is a keen student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings and is invited to give sessions on managing emotions, value and benefits of compassion, and mindfulness.

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