5 Tips for Leading with Self Compassion

Leaders are often those who motivate and inspire a team. They drive and lead performance through example and sheer hard work. But who is looking after the leader? Who makes sure that they are able to make great decisions? Who makes sure they can sustain their leadership capability?

The answer is themselves. Interesting that a leader has to exercise self-leadership and in that comes self-compassion.  Leaders will often forgive the mistakes of their followers but will be extremely hard on themselves. Beating themselves up for every indiscretion and every mistake.

So leaders have to learn to exercise the same compassion on themselves as they do on their followers. That is not to forget the lessons of a failure but much more to discard the emotions attached to that failure whilst taking the learning and banking it in the experience locker. So preventing a repeat performance. Self-compassion affords a sense of reality, a sense of humanity and a sense of forgiveness. In it we recognise that mistakes happen and that failure is not a permanent state. It allows us to discard emotion whilst accepting reality with stoicism. Only when this happens can the true benefits of learning and experience be brought to bear.

Self-compassion allows for reflection and growth – it is an essential part of leadership.  In order to become more compassionate I would adhere to the following five principles:

Reflect on your performance as a leader

Take time to think through what you’ve done and how you can improve it retrospectively. By doing so you can take the learning forward.

Accept that you are human and fallible

Remember we all make mistakes. It’s how we recover that matters.

Realise that learning is more important than emotion

If you hold onto emotion, you will not be able to reap the real benefits of your experience.

If you can’t forgive yourself you will not learn

Knowledge and learning from failure will bring you closer to success.

Treat yourself like you would a friend who has erred

Exercise the same compassion on yourself as you do to others. When a friend makes a mistake, we exhibit sympathy and empathy. When we make a mistake, we’re often too quick to self-criticise.


Our next business breakfast on 19 September focuses on how to lead with self-compassion, for more info & tickets click here.

Alternatively, contact us to find out more about how we can help you or your organisation become more self-aware and in turn practice better self-compassion.

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