Compassionate Leadership is Good for Business

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

What is the real value of Compassionate Leadership? Compassion in the workplace can help shift cultures and have a direct impact on business performance.

Malcolm Gladwell coined the term “social contagion,” a concept that demonstrates how negative or positive traits can spread quickly in organizations. The good news is, small habit-building practices can create large positive shifts in culture and they can catch on quickly. The bad news is that leaders who aren't showing genuine compassion or empathy are impacting employee engagement, employee morale, and even the mental health of your team.

Research from social scientists James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis demonstrated that compassion (empathy in action), is contagious with acts of generosity and kindness creating a chain reaction of goodness.

Benefits of compassion in the workplace

Do you remember the last time someone made your day by opening a door for you or bringing you a coffee? When a colleague noticed you were stressed and asked how they could help? What about a time someone at work asked how you were doing and then really listened to your response?


Bring to mind for a moment when you have extended kindness to another person at work and recall how good that made you feel.

Compassionate leadership is when someone truly cares about the welfare of others. It's inspiring to feel connected, to build meaningful relationships and trust amongst teams. Compassion is more than just a character trait, it’s a mindset and it can be fostered in the workplace.

Top reasons why leading with compassion creates workplaces people love:

1. Stress reduction and better health

Compassion allows a leader to acknowledge the reality of what is happening in terms of workplace stress so they can address the real needs of the team and organization. Checking in and realizing how people are feeling and what their real workload is means leaders better support their team and implement effective strategies to avoid issues like burnout.

2. Employee engagement and employee retention

When employees feel cared for, like anyone in any aspect of life, they feel happier and more engaged. Engaged team members are also loyal and productive and have high job satisfaction which leads to high customer satisfaction.

3. Trust within and amongst teams

Feeling more connected to your team members and having the ability to have difficult conversations and authentic discussions makes for better teamwork and creates a culture of openness and an environment of trust.

“Compassionate leadership is more than just a feel-good add on skill to develop, it’s an imperative for today’s organizations.” ~ Lauralee Guthrie

How to create a more compassionate culture

80 percent of leaders said they would like to enhance their compassion but don’t know how.

~ The Harvard Business Review

Human beings have tremendous capacities to give and receive in helpful ways and yet many of us may not have ever had role models or practices to teach us how to best place ourselves in another’s shoes. Assessing personal needs and the needs of those around us is an essential skill which is crucial to effective solutions.


When you really think about it, how often do you overlook important cues that might shift difficult situations? Anyone can learn to recognize and interpret the signals of their own body and from others. Balance between needs of self and other starts with self-awareness; connection with mind and body.


A compassionate leader is in a unique position to be a role model through self-compassion and the skillful recognition, acknowledgment and management of personal thoughts and feelings. Prioritizing self-care and communicating boundaries to support personal needs is vital and begins the process of building a compassionate culture in the workplace.


How to be a compassionate leader:

Check in to see how your employees are feeling

Can you shift to Mindful meetings by checking in for a few moments at the beginning of a meeting to ask how everyone is feeling or to take a minute or two to breathe together? Strengthening Emotional intelligence is an important benefit of these mindful practices.

Show the importance of self-care

Showcase the many different ways team members in your organization care for themselves. What are their morning routines? Can you provide a forum for people to share their self-care practices? Passions like meditation, yoga, hiking, or even healthy recipes that contribute to their well-being?

Encourage mindfulness activities and a practice of meditation

Provide regular meditations, especially short, guided meditations that relate to your culture and values or choose meditations to address specific needs of your team like anxiety reduction or an increase in creativity and innovation. Creating time for mini-mindfulness activities have large and far-reaching benefits.

Connect with Mindku, connect with what matters

Mindku can help you build a more compassionate culture, reduce stress and increase organizational performance through short, enjoyable mindfulness practices and personalized coaching programs.

Imagine the impact on your organization when your team is energized and resilient. Imagine a work environment defined by vibrant health, innovation and joy.

Contact us for more information. We can’t wait to connect.


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