The message at church on Sunday was based upon the words of Jesus, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). What struck me as I listened (aside from the most important fact that the love of Christ is my comfort and rest when going through a tough time) is that there is not a single human being on the planet who is not experiencing some type of mourning at this moment. In my case, I’m mourning a very bad choice of words when I was talking to my wife and a lost client due to a decision I made that deeply offended him. You might be mourning the loss of a loved one or the deep divide with an old friend. The video link below from the Cleveland Clinic powerfully conveys that all of us are carrying “stuff.”
I am changed by this reality and how I interact with people with be influenced forever.
Henry David Thoreau said, “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”
The miracle I experienced was the compassion that I felt when I looked a person in the eyes to say hello, how I shook their hand or how I listened to them. I especially felt the impact when someone behaved poorly or reacted harshly to a situation. Realizing they are carrying a hurt or are mourning, enabled me to release any attribution of their actions to their intentions and cover them in that instant with grace.
As leaders, how would your leadership change if you showed up to every situation with a bit more compassion towards those you are leading?
One leader shared with me that he would withhold judgment towards the individuals and the situation. Another leader said she would be able to put herself in their shoes since she has “stuff” she’s dealing with too and not jump to a conclusion.
A third leader challenged me by saying many situations require him to be tough and hold people accountable for their actions. At those times there is no place for compassion.
He is right! Sometimes we do need to be tough on the problem and hold people accountable; however, covered in a healthy dose of compassion, that directness and accountability looks a bit different.
Remember, everyone (I mean everyone) is mourning something and has “stuff” they are carrying. How you approach them can make all the difference in the world to them and to the ultimate results you realize as a leader.
Questions to get into Action
How would your leadership change if you showed up to every situation with a bit more compassion towards those you are leading?
What does directness and accountability look like when a healthy dose of compassion is included?