This blog first published in full at – check out their other blogs on managing during COVID-19.

Compassionate leaders seek to create a culture where helping to alleviate hardship is the norm.

This isn’t about just having a sense of sympathy; it’s about having a sustained and practical determination to do what we can to help people[1].  Here are some strategies:

1. Implement team-based pay and benefits
Economic recovery will take time, and we may need to adjust staffing to balance financial constraints with skill retention and employee commitment. In order to better support all employees, instead of just a few, compensation policies need to be refocused  from the individual and toward rewarding team performance.

2. Revise leadership assessment and development processes
Amend leadership assessment and development criteria to weight empathy, relational skills, and agility. Use online self-awareness tools and simulations to help employees develop these skills and implement internal mentoring. This will refocus leadership competencies toward Compassionate Leadership, and will reduce feelings of isolation. 

3. Focus on the results, not the process
It is important for employees to be present and productive, and we must allow people to manage their time and work in balance with their new circumstances. Be clear about priorities and articulate the difference between good and great. Assess performance based on successfully achieving priorities, not the process used for doing so. 

4. Use compassion to reduce fear and increase agility
When people are afraid, they are less likely to be agile, which puts flexibility, learning, innovation, and creativity at risk. Use compassion and empathy to acknowledge the validity of people’s fear and work to address them on a practical level.

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©Janice Caplan 2020