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Literature of Leadership - Compassionate Leadership

COMPASSIONATE LEADERSHIP: How to Do Hard Things in a Human Way. Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter. (2022, Kindle Edition)


Leadership is hard work. Doing hard things in a human way has long been known to be among the greatest challenges of leaders. At its core is the eternal tension of balancing the long-term needs of an organization with the short-term needs of its people. In Compassionate Leadership, the authors advance the view that the need for “wise compassionate leadership” has never been greater.


The book authors, Hougaard and Carter, are practicing consultants with a research and consulting firm that facilitates leadership development. Drawing from extensive fieldwork and research conducted over many years with both executive leaders and their direct reports, the authors advance the view that for optimal leadership, leaders must be skilled at balancing wisdom and compassion. They elaborate that, In practice, wise compassion requires four skills sets: (1) presence, (2) courage, (3) candor, and (4) transparency. A simple framework is presented for the practice of wise compassion, referred to as the “Wise Compassion Flywheel”, along with ten (10) principles that undergird the practice. In brief, the principles include the ability to lead… 1. authentically, 2. with purpose, 3. with empathy plus action, 4. with self-care, 5. by overcoming busyness, 6. with presence and mindfulness, 7. with courage over comfort, 8. with professional candor combined with personal care, 9. with clarity and kindness, and 10. through navigating difficult conversations.


Each of these 10 principles is addressed in a book chapter. Chapters 1 to 5 focus on developing the mindsets for wise compassionate leadership; and Chapters 6 to 10 focus on honing the practical skills associated with the key elements of the Flywheel (presence, courage, candor, and transparency). Throughout each of the book chapters, the authors offer insights and strategies with illuminating stories from the field. For example, in tough conversations that accompany hard decisions, such as in the process of telling someone they no longer have a job, or in providing tough performance feedback, the authors present key strategies for delivering such messages with both wisdom and compassion.


If you seek to discover the power of the flywheel to enhance your leadership skill set, add this resource to your leadership library.


Image source: Amazon

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