Friday, April 28, 2017

Great Leadership Trait: Compassion

Compassion symbolized by two hands creating the world with Earth painting
Last week, we talked about openness with S.M.A.L.L. and The Four Agreements, which should help you be prepared to become compassionate. This is a part of the Great Leadership blog series.

Merriam-Webster defines compassion as:

  "Sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it."

Thupten Jinpa defines it more precisely with 3 distinct parts:
  1. Cognitive: “I understand you”
  2. Affective: “I feel for you”
  3. Motivational: “I want to help you”
In today's world, most people are busy with work or their own lives that they don't seem to have time for others. In reality, a world without others is lonely and would eventually be dull. Therefore, it is better to connect with each other to fully enjoy life, and being sympathetic to others and helping each other goes a long way in building a stronger bond and understanding of each other: being compassionate. As we are social creatures, a stronger bond means a more fulfilling and happier life.

With compassion, it allows one to become not just a better leader, but a great leader. In Jim Collins's book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, While Others Don't, he concluded that great leaders have great ambition and personal humility. With that and the meaning of compassion, Chade-Meng Tan believes compassion is a necessary condition for great leaders. And logically, I have to agree. To be a great leader, you need a great number of people that will follow you. Ask yourself why you would follow someone's vision? And the answer is likely the leader has a great vision that you agree with and you want to help him/her bring that vision to life -- which is kinda like the meaning of compassion where you understand the leader's feeling for the vision and you have a desire to help, therefore compassion is necessary for you to follow. Now think about how that leader came up with the vision that you believe in whole-heartedly, it is like he/she read your mind and came up with the vision to help you -- compassion. Leading by being led [by the followers] is one of the reasons how Abraham Lincoln became such a great leader. He understood the people's problems and came up with visions/plans to solve them with the help of the people themselves.

The first time that I learned about compassion is from an article from Mike Gamson on how he learned compassion from Jeff Weiner. It had a great impact on my life and shifted how I want to live my life. To get a better understanding, I found how Jeff learned compassion from the Dalai Lama -- a must read. The article explains the meaning of compassion, how it can be taught, and its balance with wisdom. Thank you Mike and Jeff for being compassionate and spreading Dalai Lama and your wisdom for the benefits of others. I will embrace and pass it forward.

With compassion, you will understand, feel, and help everyone and everyone will do the same onto you, which is life changing in many ways. Initially, with the bombardment of feelings, you might become overwhelmed and exhausted, which is why The Four Agreements is important to follow and master. With mastery of the four agreements, you will be protected while you open your heart to the world. But if you do get overwhelmed, as the old saying goes we are only human, it is ok to step back and take a break. Eventually, you will become to understand everyone and everyone will understand you, which allows you to get to a state where you no longer have any negative feelings for others, and only thing that is left is positive and warm feelings -- that is a wonderful and marvelous feeling, you could even say it is true peace and happiness. And everyone will also help each other out as well, so you don't need to be afraid to fall.

Without being afraid to fall is a powerful thing. With fear, people restrict themselves to certain things, limit themselves to less than 100%, open themselves to only a few people -- which all means under performing and under enjoying life. If people are able to not fear living their lives to the fullest and giving their all in doing everything, then they can reach 100% productivity and be 100% happy. People are afraid because of how other people might see and judge them when they fall/fail. With compassion, people will understand each other, and when you do fall/fail, people will be there to help if you need it without judgement, so embrace compassion, and then you will no longer need to fear, but you can truly live your life to the fullest -- full throttle, bud/babe! ;)

There is not enough compassion in the world. I hope that you will also embrace compassion and pass it forward as well (Share/Like It to pass it to your network! :D), so that we can all become not just leaders but great leaders by building stronger bonds with each other and truly understand and help each other that allows us to live our lives to the fullest without fear. With compassion, people's heart can be open to build the next great leadership trait: trust.

Compassion shouldn't be limited but should be extended to everyone and everything.

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