The End of the Uncompassionate Leader?  The Compassionate Leadership

Guest post by Manley Hopkinson, who is the founder of renowned leadership consultancy The Compassionate Leadership Academy, author of Compassionate Leadership (Hachette, £12.99).

Would any of us truly want it to stay?

Of course, it would be remiss to neglect the advances our society has made in technology, productivity and profit, but at what cost? How many people suffer from mental and physical health issues under the current regime? How much has it cost the health and stability of our planet? How much longer do we suffer the unhappiness, dissatisfaction and poor
performance that uncompassionate leadership creates?

Are We Finally Witnessing the End of the Uncompassionate Leader?  The path to Compassionate Leadership

I believe we are at the beginning of a tectonic shift in leadership between the old thinking and the new. Following on from the ‘Great Resignation’, driven by a groundswell of discontent, more and more of us are waking up to the understanding that uncompassionate leadership only engenders compliance, resentment and detachment. In the name of growth and profit, uncompassionate leaders have in turn ended up losing precisely the one thing they sought to gain: productivity.

When the workforce is compliant, there is no “engagement” or “going the extra mile”. There is certainly no “innovation and ownership”. And these are all the qualities of a happy, sustainable, and productive workforce.
So what about the new thinking; the era of compassionate leadership?

In the words of the living embodiment of compassion, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, ‘if empathy is to understand, then compassion is to work with that knowledge with positive intent’. To put it simply, compassion is ‘understanding with positive action’. It removes judgement, creates a responsibility, and compels you to act having first sought to
understand.

We can extend this into a definition of compassionate leadership, which is to ‘secure the best for all’ – for your teams, customers, suppliers, people, yourself, and even the planet. And when leaders secure the best for all, they can in turn secure the best from all. By tapping into your self-worth, they have your best interest at heart, they understand you
better and make you feel valued. They are investing in you. In doing so, we move away from a culture of compliance towards a far healthy and more sustainable culture of commitment.

Energising, empowering, and productive commitment will always reign over draining, controlling, inefficient compliance.  So you ask, ‘Are we finally witnessing the end of the uncompassionate leader?’

If we have learnt anything at all, it is that uncompassionate leadership is a failure. People, society, and our communities are all reaching out searching for a greater meaning, greater connection and humanity. Following Covid-19, we have been forced to change the way we
work to make room for greater flexibility and autonomy. Quite rightly, people do not wish to return to the old way but instead move toward a new, healthier way of working.

As senior leaders in business, it is our task now not to see this as a battle between us and them, but as a great opportunity. To grab with both hands and lead the global transformation. To create a legacy of compassion, happiness, sustainability and productivity. For the workforce, for yourself, and for the planet.

Manley Hopkinson is the founder of renowned leadership consultancy The Compassionate Leadership Academy, author of Compassionate Leadership (Hachette, £12.99) and a sought-after keynote speaker.

Manley Hopkinson is the founder of Manley Talks and original voice of Compassionate Leadership and is a world-renowned leadership consultant with clients that include Google, Amazon, Citibank, KPMG & McKinsey. The Compassionate Leadership Academy operates across six continents and has been translated into four languages.

Manley has led teams to success in the world’s most challenging environments, having skippered a crew in the world’s toughest yacht race around the world, and setting a record for the first ski race to the Magnetic North Pole. Manley is also the author of Compassionate Leadership which is published by Hachette.

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