Can leadership also incorporate the modern desire for an open, inclusive and compassionate approach to business?

EP aim to host a “Leadership Festival” that is targeted at those in school and university as we strive to create a new understanding and engagement on leadership. It is a great role to be able to play but undoubtedly it has become seen in a negative light as the greater levels of transparency have shown all some poor behaviours and practices. It has allowed all leaders to be questioned and the level of mistrust in leaders has grown at an alarming rate.

EP aim to host a “Leadership Festival” that is targeted at those in school and university as we strive to create a new understanding and engagement on leadership. It is a great role to be able to play but undoubtedly it has become seen in a negative light as the greater levels of transparency have shown all some poor behaviours and practices. It has allowed all leaders to be questioned and the level of mistrust in leaders has grown at an alarming rate.

At the same time, there is a greater growth curve for a more compassionate approach to business with over 60% of employees wanting to see a more open, inclusive and compassionate approach to customers, clients and employees. Old fashioned concepts such as compassion and kindness have become increasingly popular and understandably so when the behaviours of leaders have been so negatively highlighted.

The obvious natural answer is that leaders need to adapt to the modern reality and embrace a more compassionate approach to business. This is nothing new – it happened after the Second World War and with good results. There is really no need for leaders – in all walks of life – to be single minded on their own results and not possess the band width to think more broadly towards their – and their organizations – responsibility of their people and communities. This should be a given and it is the modern expectation of modern business and generations – so it will inevitably happen.

Yes, of course, there will be those that will be bemused by such thinking as the concept of compassion to some has them thinking immediately of a slide into poor productivity, lower performance and organizational entropy. The reality is quite different as the case studies of past examples will show.  The US economy most particularly thrived after the Second World War with leaders returning with new skills sets and understanding of the importance of people and communities.

Compassion isn’t a soft skill but genuine belief and empowerment in something bigger and that takes courageous action which will powerfully impact on organizations.

The Hospitality Industry should fully understand the concept as their very basis lies in service and care for clients and customers. Hospitality can lead in this whole concept of Compassionate Business as it is absolutely positioned to lead in society and play a key role within communities. Often it does not take the opportunity but it does most certainly exist and is positioned to do so.

The Big Bang of the late 80s created a new, stronger focus on wealth growth and results. Thinking did change from almost that moment right through to very recently. The sole purpose of companies was to shareholder value and growth. Business became a home for strong alpha behaviours which arguably lost its fair perspective as companies are also the foundation of communities and society. With the advent of social media, it has – rightly or wrongly – made the world transparent and asked for far better. Add in austerity, bitter Brexit argument, Trumpism, Climate change and more and there is a desire for compassionate business that is growing in power.

Compassion begins with empathy—the ability to discern that someone is under stress, or is suffering distress, and then the willingness to relieve suffering by taking action. We are all painfully aware that business has struggled in this area.

Compassion is a hallmark of strong leadership. Compassion combines personal integrity, humility, being open to others’ perspectives, and taking responsibility to lead: having the courage and strength to say that the past has not been good enough. This is the mark of what many want modern leaders to be. So are you ready for your business to be more compassionate? Are you ready to raise the expectation in behaviours so there is more compassion?