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Leadership

Compassionate Leadership Starts with Self-Compassion

The challenges of the coronavirus pandemic have drawn attention to a valuable leadership attribute: compassion. In order to help their companies adapt to these unusual circumstances, men and women in leadership roles had to not only look at the big picture, but also recognize that they work with unique individuals. Compassionate leaders were able to understand what their teams were experiencing and implement flexible, innovative ways to move forward.

Shamis Pitts

Shamis Pitts

In the recent Forté Women Lead webinar Leading with Compassion, Shamis Pitts, the founder of Pitts Leadership Consulting, shared research showing that compassion makes leaders more effective. She said, “The overall outcomes that we can achieve within organizations come from our ability to recognize and tune in to the needs of other people.”

Ask Yourself: Are You Meeting Your Own Needs?

During the live, interactive webinar, Shamis asked her viewers how they were doing — and she encouraged them to be honest. She recommends checking in with yourself often, because if you aren’t paying attention to your own needs, you won’t be able to tune into what others need. She said, “You can’t ignore the feelings that you have at any given moment, because they impact your ability to be present.”

To become a more compassionate leader, Shamis suggests starting with self-compassion. When you feel tired, depleted, or overwhelmed, take care of yourself by prioritizing sleep, rest, and renewal. She said, “Hone in on what it is that you need to be able to give to yourself, so that you can then go out and serve and support other people.”

Set a Positive Example for Your Team

By acting with self-compassion, you’re setting an example for others. Shamis said, “I’m not being my best if I’m not leading by example and demonstrating healthy practices for myself that my team then picks up on or that I’m then modeling throughout the organization.”

She also emphasized the importance of collaboration, and asked, “How do you bring voices together to ensure that people have an opportunity to be heard, to be understood?”

Throughout her talk, Shamis encouraged viewers to ground themselves in their strengths and in the opportunities that they have going forward this year. She said, “I really believe in strength-based leadership. Lean into the thing that you know you’re great at, and we get to learn and grow. What might you be able to amplify this year?”

For more of Shamis Pitts’ insights, view the full webinar, Women Lead: Leading with Compassion. You’ll see her explain the difference between empathy — which can be depleting — and compassion, outline the 7 Core Attributes of Compassionate Leaders, and answer questions from viewers. The webinar was recorded and is now available on demand.

A full library of previous Forté webinars is available to Professional Access Pass members. For $100/year, Access Pass members receive exclusive invitations to Women Lead webinars. If your company is a Forté partner you may be entitled to free Access Pass. Check our partners to see if your organization is involved. Access Pass members also have exclusive use of the Forté Job Center; you can browse positions and post your resume to be seen by leading companies seeking top talent.

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