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Does Compassion Have Value At Work?

Does Compassion Have Value At Work?

BY Michelle McQuaid

Are helpfulness and forgiveness a part of your business model? When you sit in a room with your colleagues or your clients do you ever look for where there’s pain in the room? And if you do notice, do you feel confident enough to do something about it?

Studies are finding these simple acts found in compassionate workplaces are helping to produce more productive, efficient and happy employees in organizations.

So when it comes to your workplace, just how compassionate are you?

How Does Compassion Work?

Professor Jane Dutton from the University of Michigan began researching compassion in organizations in 2000 with a deep desire to understand what difference compassion makes for the lives of employees and for the capabilities and performance of organizations.

To date studies have found that in businesses where compassion is emphasized, employees are less stressed and more satisfied with their jobs, and turnover is lower. In addition, it appears compassionate organizations also have more employee loyalty and engagement.

Differing slightly from empathy which allows us to mirror someone else’s feelings or altruism which is action that benefits someone else, compassion is an emotional response when perceiving suffering and involves an authentic desire to help.

With a growing number of business conferences now focusing on compassion, even The Harvard Business Review recently noted that compassionate management is rising in workplaces because of the concrete ways it benefits the bottom line.

So how might compassion benefit your workplace? In this episode of Chelle McQuaid TV, I have the great privilege of interviewing Professor Jane Dutton who offers some simple tips on how we can each raise our own levels of compassion at work.

Can You Show More Compassion?

Three ways Jane recommends we can show more compassion at work by:

  1. Notice when there is pain in the room and create a safe place for people to be able to express their pain when needed.
  2. Don’t judge or try to make sense of someone’s behavior. Simply listen to what they need to share.
  3. Don’t worry about doing the right thing or acting perfectly. Just be present and let them know they’ve been heard.

If you want more resources on compassion at work be sure to visit The Compassion Lab and the Center for Positive Organizations. You can watch Jane talk more about her work in this wonderful video, and listen to one of her talented students, Monica Worline, share more on compassion at work here. And of course be sure to grab a copy of Jane’s latest book “How To Be A Positive Leader: Small Actions, Big Impact“.

How can you help spread compassion at work?

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