A Corporate Culture of Compassionate Love?

Yes, I said it out loud, that we can aspire to having a corporate culture of compassion and love. Continuing the theme based on the HBR article in the January-February 2016 issue: Manage Your Emotional Culture by Barsade and O’Neill, let’s look at the benefits of creating a compassionate and loving environment at work.

Barsade and O’Neill surveyed biopharmaceutical, engineering and 5 other industries, unrelated to healthcare, and found that several performance indices improve when a culture of compassion exists. Researchers studying resilience show that compassion for oneself increases satisfaction and reduce stress for leaders and employees, making work and success more sustainable.

Being kind you yourself in the face of failure, struggle and stress is a good place to start. We cannot share compassion if we harshly criticize our own actions and responses to pressure. Take a moment and think about these things:

  • Does your inner critic squash all your feelings of achievement by putting up arguments for reaching perfection? Perfection is an unrealistic goal. What level of acceptance for the work you do can you attain comfortably? Work on that acceptance daily.
  • You can increase your acceptance of all that you do by making a list of your personal and career accomplishments and celebrate them.
  • Learning is not a failure. If you were able to learn from an unsuccessful venture, you succeeded!
  • Listen to the encouraging words you use to acknowledge your employees, now turn them around and use them on yourself consistently.

Our characters, as leaders, come through in everything we do or don’t do, say or don’t say. Our frowns and harsh footsteps on the floor when we are in a hurry to get something done do not portray compassion and concern. Take a moment before rushing out your office to compose yourself and find something to smile about. This is not phony “faking it until you make it,” it is making time to find something you do care about and building on that in order to build a company with teams that generate love and create a place your customers love doing business with.


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