We all have moments that challenge us. For me, this last 6 weeks has been just one of those. You know those people that don’t do things in half? Well, it’s finally dawning on me that I’m one of those. My family’s life tends to be a bit of a rollercoaster. We have a peaceful few months followed by a few weeks of utter carnage! It’s something I’m realising we need to work on!!
In that last 6 weeks, we’ve welcomed a mother and son from Ukraine into our house and got them all set up for life in the UK, we’ve moved house to the country along with them, we’ve become a 1 car family - of now 6 people…..living in the country with only a 5 seater car, we’ve had major issues with said only car, we’ve lost our furry member of the family - our 10 year old dog - and both my son and our Ukrainian guest are currently home from school with pretty bad cases of chicken pox!
It’s moments like this that I’m so incredibly grateful for working within a company that truly understands how to lead rather than just manage it’s people! Every step of the way I’ve had endless amounts of support. Whether it be being told to take the day off, people offering both myself and my guests lifts to work, home or English classes, the offer of some coaching to get me through it all and given me the freedom to adjust my hours temporarily so that I can be the mother I want to be to my poorly son but also work the job I love that keeps me sane too.
In the past I’ve worked for many large corporate companies whose business motos have been something around ‘focusing on the people’. However, when it came to it and things went wrong for individuals within the workplace, rather than supporting them through the tough times, the employees received pressure from the managers…..there’s certainly been no ‘Compassionate Leadership’.
In my mind, Compassionate Leadership should be a given. It should be the way EVERY leader is. I’m a huge believer that without the people, there is no business. When the people are under pressure, applying more pressure will just make them crack – even break in some cases! However, keep the people happy and both they AND the business will thrive.
Compassionate Leadership is all about listening to what is going on, looking out for stress points and making your team/team members aware that you see them. It’s about helping them. Whether that be stepping up to the plate and taking on some of their workload or giving them the freedom to figure things out for themselves. It’s about understanding. Without ensuring you fully understand there’s a chance you’ve got it all wrong and rather than being a help to them you may end up as a hinderance instead. Understanding that if they are struggling at home there’s a high chance, they will also be struggling at work too. Understanding that getting them through this crunch point will make both them and your team stronger too. It’s about showing them that you get it and that they are not on their own. It’s about showing them that we are all human - we all have moments where we need a little additional support.
Without compassionate leadership these last 6 weeks I’ve no doubt I’d be a mess right now. However, instead, I have not just survived but I have come out of it feeling strong. Strong because I have felt hugely supported. Strong because I have been shown that having challenging moments does not make me a weak person or team member. Strong because my compassionate leaders have allowed me the space to uphold my own personal value of being there when my children need me but also kept me sane as I have still had the freedom to be able to focus on the job I love around my son.
And what about the benefit for the business?? Apart from the fact that they have a strong team member coming out from under the cloud of chaos at home - more than anything, I know the team will be stronger as I truely appreciate the support they have given me and will most certainly give the same in return especially when it's the next persons 'challenging moment' - after all a person will always give whatever they get.
So next time you come across someone who seems to be struggling, what will your reactions be??