Compassion and Leadership – Part 3

Sat, 2017-04-01 10:23 -- tomjonez


In past weeks, I have discussed that I the value of compassion as a hallmark of those who lead.

Initially I began by defining compassion and then, next, explored the virtue of compassion-centered management as a primary stimulus in leadership decision-making (click blue words to read).

This week, I part three, we look at the danger of compassion in leadership.

In a meeting a few days ago, my friend James Tungsvik made the following comment:

I have known people who try to lead with compassion to a point of lacking wisdom.  In such instances, they decide based on their feeling of compassion and completely throw out all of the normal rules that apply to the situation.  I tell them, “you can’t do that…the rules still apply, no matter who it is…”

James agreed that creative solutions are always possible when a dose of pragmatic wisdom is applied to an emotionally-charged decision – and can therefore result in a strategy that does not set aside the requisite parameters that apply to the situation.

Our discussion was lively and fun.  We agreed that when rules exist – and then are discarded in favor of our emotional (compassionate) construct – the result is the introduction of lawlessness and the introduction of seeds that can destabilize the governing structure of the enterprise. 

On the other hand, consistent decision-making within the constraints of applicable guidelines, will foster stability and security through predictable and reasonable cause-and-effect leadership.

Don’t get me wrong…compassion is a good thing and must be an ever-present ingredient in the role of leadership.  Even so, compassion must never alter the comportment required for those who lead.

This really zeros in on the central question(s) we have been asking throughout this series: 

Do we want those we lead to feel better? Or get better?

Do you agree?  Why or why not?