By Jeri Denniston, Denner Group International September 2013
Takeaways: Compassionate management is a new trend flowing into many organizations globally. More recognition is being given to the softer skills of management, frequently considered “female” traits.
In the September 18 Harvard Business Review blog article by Bronwyn Fryer, The Rise of Compassionate Management (Finally), the author discusses the new trend of compassion that is making its way into organizations.
Despite the fact that compassion has been touted by many management gurus like Peter Senge and Ken Blanchard, nasty managers are still prevalent among high level positions in US organizations. I’m sure we can all think of at least one “boss” we’ve had who fits this to a tee. And perhaps that’s because business has been a cut-throat environment largely ruled and run by men who see compassion as a weaker “female” trait.
But the winds of change are blowing in the direction of compassion at work. According to the article, “More evidence of this trend comes from the Conscious Capitalism movement, whose membership includes companies like Southwest Airlines, Google, the Container Store, Whole Foods Market, and Nordstrom. One of the cornerstones of the movement is to try to take care not just of your shareholders, but all stakeholders (investors, workers, customers, and so on).”
This skill isn’t natural for many managers, and I would venture to say, especially for men. Men have been raised to be competitive, to fight for what they want. Anger and loud voices, even rudeness, have been considered strengths. As a female manager, I recall being told many times by male bosses that I was too nice. I cared too much about my people and their feelings. I have always believed that if you give your staff and other stakeholders in the organization the tools and support they need to succeed, to achieve what they personally want to accomplish in their careers and their personal lives, they will excel and overall performance will go up. I’ve seen it happen. Now, that characteristic is being appreciated – finally!
According to Fryer, “Over and over, it’s been shown that compassion concretely benefits the corporate bottom line. Marcus Buckingham’s work on employee engagement has shown that engagement is critical to organizational success. Plenty of others have shown that practicing compassion is good for your business.” Matthew Kelly’s book, The Dream Manager, is all about how compassionate management creates happier employees and a better bottom line.
Which way is the wind blowing at your company?
Click here to read the full article.