I was reviewing an article on Forbes.com about compassionate leadership today. While I tend to resist what is “trendy” regarding leadership, the traits that author Margie Warrell shares as a best practice are really time-tested ones. Her article points out that mindful and compassionate leadership actually expands your own creativity, memory, and attention, and decreases stress.
An article on Philadelphia’s Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel that ran in Philly.com interestingly enough, points out some of the same characteristics that have led to what seems like some success in that organization. I know that throughout his first year there, I have taken note of his going out to meet the troops, and eating dinners or lunches with them. There’s been a lot of tweeting and Facebooking about all the great things the PFD is doing. And he certainly seems to be getting a positive feeling going in a department that had undergone some rough administrations recently (I say “seems”, because I don’t know first hand, but it certainly appears positive).
When we lead from the heart and do things not because they make us look good or that they benefit us directly, but for others, we create trust. People respond to trust. They form a relationship with you, and they realize that even when sometimes there is some heavy lifting, if they trust that this isn’t about YOU, but about the team, they are more willing to put in the extra, even if there isn’t a quid pro quo arrangement. THAT is transformational leadership, and it is THAT level that is truly exceptional leadership.
Consider that example and read the linked articles. What can you do in your organization, even if you aren’t the “legitimate” leader, to create trust? How can you be more compassionate to others to get them to follow you?