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Being compassionate is one of the most vital traits that any leader can possess. Now more than ever, people want compassion and understanding from the people they work for and with. The last year has been incredibly trying for most people; having empathy for everyone’s circumstances lets them know that you understand their struggles and want to help.

Compassion has often been considered a nonessential leadership trait since it is a ‘soft’ or social skill. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that being compassionate with your team encourages them to confide in you and more readily share their problems and new ideas. This allows you to be more reactive and proactive, compensate for setbacks, and create innovative solutions. Encouraging your team to be open with you through compassionate leadership also allows you to learn their strengths and weaknesses, making it easier to give feedback and help them grow. Compassion is the key to building a strong, united team that is ready to meet any challenge.

Sometimes compassion can be a difficult skill to cultivate and master, especially if you are unaccustomed to giving or receiving it. Fortunately, it is easy to practice. You can improve your skills in your everyday life by listening attentively during conversations; instead of trying to think about what you will say next or talking about yourself, ask questions about the other person and absorb the information they give you. This will help you be more empathetic towards their circumstances and understand how they behave, leading to a stronger relationship between you. Compassionate leaders also make sure to recognize the contributions of their team members and thank them for their work— another thing that’s easy to do regularly. This will also help you become more aware and appreciative of the things that others do to help you, whether or not it’s something you initially notice. 

Practicing compassion both in and out of the workplace is vital to cultivating not only a good working environment and a strong, united team but also improving your relationships. Having empathy and compassion towards everyone’s circumstances is the key to success and prosperity for anyone looking to become a respected leader.