Many see compassion as a sign of weakness but I’d like to challenge that belief. To be a great leader, you don’t need to be heartless, or insensitive. Some of the most successful people I know are extremely caring and compassionate.
I recently suffered a serious injury while mountain biking, that required me to undergo four major surgeries in seven days. I remained in the hospital for 24 days while a number of doctors, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, & physical therapists worked around the clock to save my right leg. This gave me a chance to make the acquaintance of many of the hospital personnel each day, including many of the food & nutrition staff, hospital management, & janitorial staff.
During my hospital stay, I encountered many different dispositions and attitudes. Most of the staff were very friendly and compassionate.
Compassion Can Make You More Effective As A Leader
Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Adam G. Cota, performed three of the four surgeries. Besides being a highly skilled orthopedic surgeon with certifications in the United States & Canada, Dr. Cota’s most impressive characteristic was his sense of humor and compassion. He always had a smile on his face and brought positive energy into the room. His cheery attitude made the entire ordeal bearable for everyone involved.
Dr. Steven R. Gammon is another extremely talented orthopedic surgeon who could have simply done his job and had his staff followup. On multiple occasions, Dr. Gammon made it a point to stop in my hospital room and check in on me. Dr. Gammon went above and beyond to show compassion and ensure I had the best possible experience during my stay.
The compassion showed by these two incredible surgeons was unexpected but greatly appreciated.
Can You Be A Compassionate Leader In Competitive Sports?
Before this recent injury, I really enjoyed mountain biking with a local group of entrepreneurs. Most of the folks I ride with are highly accomplished in their field of expertise.
Mountain biking trips to other countries are commonplace and many of these guys even compete in races internationally. These are highly skilled athletes who have invested a lot of money into their bikes and equipment.
Here’s What You May Not Expect When Riding With Athletes Of This Caliber:
A few months ago, over 100 of us took a trip and rode for 2 days ride near Moab, Utah. Some of these crazy friends dropped off cliff faces that I was scared to even walk near. A few of the most skilled riders took drops that were multiple stories high. The few that took these insane drops were able to not only land the drop without dying but also made it look easy!
On other trips, we’ve had new riders who were just learning to drop off a 2′ – 3′ ledge. These incredible leaders didn’t make fun of the new guy dropping a couple of feet. Instead, they clapped, hollered and made the entry-level rider feel like they just completed the biggest victory of their life!
When a newer rider went over the handlebars or crashed, these leaders all showed compassion and made sure the new riders were not only okay but encouraged them to keep trying.
Showing Compassion Makes People Want To Follow You
Being humble is an admirable characteristic for a leader, but leaders who show genuine compassion inspire others to follow them. The two surgeons I mentioned earlier made a huge impact on me and my family. It was easy to see that the hospital staff respected and admired these men, not just because of their skills but because they took the time to show genuine compassion and concern for their patients.
When I started hanging out with expert riders, I was impressed by their talent. But as I got to know them, I was inspired by their compassion and love for those they were mentoring.
Compassion Will Make You More Effective As A Leader!
Make it a point to actually care about those you lead. Show genuine compassion and concern. Not only will their self-confidence improve, but you’ll create a loyal team and an atmosphere that encourages growth!