"People. They're the worst." This classic Seinfeld quote aptly describes the intentionally unenlightened characters on the popular television sitcom. But let's be honest--it would be so much easier to get our jobs done if it weren't for the people. The staff we manage, the vendors we hire, and the residents we serve. While we're aware that it's 'the people' who make our jobs necessary and possible, they are also the source of much difficulty. So how do we balance the demands of the task with the reality of people? I'm going to suggest an unorthodox solution--cultivate a culture of compassion. Crazy, you say? Let me suggest a few well researched benefits.
First, a definition of compassion. Essentially it is a response of empathy in the face of the suffering or pain of another. So how could that be good business?
Reason #1: Your team will be more creative and productive. Caring for people develops trust and deepens relationships. Scott Kriens with Project Compassion Stanford summarizes it this way. "Advances in neuroscience have produced numerous studies suggesting individuals and groups who have a low trust, low respect relationship with their company and with each other perform much more poorly in solving problems.
Reason #2 : You'll be more successful: From the same article, Kriens (former CEO of Jupiter Networks) says, "I believe that the best way to develop a high-performance business for the long haul is to develop a caring, high-trust, relationship-centric culture. These cultures nurture a sense of purpose, of connection, and of compassion, where the business results we can measure are not the first priority of the enterprise, but rather a consequence enjoyed when leaders and teams practice the primary goal of building a caring community every day."
Reason #3: You'll most likely live a happier, healthier life. Research by Ed Diener and Martin Seligman suggests that connecting with others in a meaningful way helps us enjoy better mental and physical health and speeds up recovery from disease. "
Of course, if you're not interested in productivity, creativity, success, health and happiness (and there are people committed to being discontent) taking the time to do the work of listening, empathizing and connecting will not be worth it. We'd love to hear how you're integrating compassion on your property!
Still not convinced? Next time we'll discuss common myths surrounding compassion.
photo courtesy of mrgfile