Leading with Compassion

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By:Beth Flynn, Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

"Not just as leaders but as human beings, fostering empathy is important because it inspires one of the most powerful motivations we have: compassion, or acting with the intention to help reduce the pain of others. Empathy is a potent way to develop inner strength. If we don't see the pain of others, or we refuse to acknowledge it, we won't act to help them. This squanders our power, or our ability to transform the world. With compassion, we can do the opposite. We can use our power for good works.

One question I'm regularly asked to clarify the difference between empathy and compassion. Empathy is feeling another's feelings and distinguishing their feelings from our own. The second portion of the definition, distinguishing their feelings, is important. Without this distinction, the result is emotional contagion. We go beyond feeling and instead identify with another's feelings.

Compassion has three components: (1) empathy, or feeling another's feelings; (2) understanding, or the aspiration to understand another's feelings and experience; and (3) motivation, or the aspiration to relieve the other person's suffering (p. 204-205)."

From: Lesser, M. (2019).  Seven practices of a mindful leader.  Novato, CA: New World Library 

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Tue, 04/28/2020 - 10:26am -- Beth Flynn

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