Why Compassion is the Best Leadership Trait

4 mn read

Throughout my professional journey, I was always fond of some of the great leaders of our time and what made them great leaders. Over time, I learned what set them apart wasn’t their ability to be “innovative” or their raw talent. Instead, it was the compassion they had for the people they worked for. Compassion is one of the most important traits of a successful leader. It is the ability to show empathy and understanding for those around you. As well as, to be able to use this understanding to guide your decisions and actions. This is why I wanted to discuss why compassion is the best leadership trait.

Compassion allows a leader to be aware of the needs and feelings of their followers. This allows them to be able to take into account the emotional well-being of their team when making decisions. A compassionate leader is able to take into account the feelings and situations of their followers and make decisions based on what is best for the team. Rather than what is best for themselves. It is these types of leaders that make you want to do more than what you are capable of or asked to do. These types of leaders are what made me want to give that same compassion back to my subordinates.

Compassion Vs. Empathy: Dalai Lama

In his book, the art of happiness, the Dalai Lama talks about the difference between empathy and compassion. In the book, he says that empathy is like seeing a boulder drop on someone’s chest and saying “oh man that must hurt. I feel for him, I hope he figures it out.” While compassion is seeing the person with that boulder on his chest and doing whatever you can to take that boulder off of the man’s chest. He says the key difference between the two is action.

This action shows that you understand what that person is going through. You have had that experience of being in that same spot and you found a way out. Because you found that way out you are open about returning the favor for the next person. In fact, by doing this the man that you saved from that boulder will be deeply indebted to you.

Pain is the path to Compassion and Understanding

Pain is an integral part of the human experience that has the potential to bring us closer to compassion and understanding. It can be a powerful tool for developing leadership skills. Because it teaches us to empathize with others and better relate to the struggles they may be facing. By recognizing and understanding our own pain, we can learn to recognize and empathize with the pain of those around us.

This can lead to more effective communication and better problem-solving as a leader. Pain also teaches us to be more patient and understanding with ourselves, which can help us become better leaders. It can also lead to greater self-awareness and an understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. Pain can help us become more compassionate, understanding, and patient leaders, which are all important qualities for successful leadership.

Why Compassion is the Best Leadership Trait

Compassion Leads to Love

This next one is something I’m learning about on a daily basis. Compassion leading to love. This is important for so many reasons. If you haven’t found a way to love yourself, your ability to love others will be that much more difficult. Love is important in leadership because if you can’t love the people that you work for there won’t be a lot of places you can go. Loving yourself, what you do, and the people that you work for is what will make you a great leader. Love is a scarce resource these days and when someone sees that you genuinely love them with no strings attached they will give you the world.


To understand why compassion is the best leadership trait you have to first go through pain and experience love. In fact, this is a key part of understanding your subordinates and how to put them in the best position to be great leaders moving forward. Because pain is the ultimate motivator. Looking at your pain and understanding how to solve this will lead you to understand what compassion is. Then use this compassion and provide it forward to the people that you will eventually be put into the position to lead. Compassion leads to understanding that everyone has their own unique backgrounds and pain. Knowing about each and every one’s pain and understanding what they need is key to leadership. This helps to get buy-in from the people that work for you.

This is something that I learned through my journey and the mentors I had along the way. What got me to give it my all for some of the leaders I had was their ability to love, and understand me. They also knew what to say to me to get me back on my feet and pushed me to another level. So, remember when you lead, lead with love and compassion. You’d be surprised by the wonders that it will provide you.

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