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Should compassion have a place in work?

Should compassion have a place in work?

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You’d generally think being compassionate is a good thing. But while most people seem to view it positively in their personal lives, opinions get a bit more blurry when you’re talking about compassion in the workplace.

A report by leadership institute Roffey Park states that compassion, which is difficult to define in its entirety, leads to actions that aim to alleviate the pain or problem felt by another person.

In a workplace setting, compassion typically applies when coworkers recognise a colleague is struggling or has a problem for which they then look to help. 

But is this something that always happens, or in reality is there a general lack of compassion in organisations? Would you consider your business to be a compassionate one?

Read our thoughts on the subject here. Post your comments below. 

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Shonette new
By Shonette
01st Sep 2016 11:58

Good question Andrew - I'd like to think compassion is a gut instinct in us all, so that if we saw a colleague who was obviously distressed or in need of support we'd go to their aid. However, there's definitely that work/life barrier for most people, and I think many would be concerned about 'interfering' or crossing that line.
This ties in with a recent discussion on TrainingZone where we debated the need for 'Mental Health First Aiders' in companies - whilst they're no doubt a good idea, the counter argument is that we should all be responsible for helping our friends and colleagues when they're struggling: https://www.trainingzone.co.uk/community/discuss/mental-health-first-aid...

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By clive boorman
05th Sep 2016 11:37

Hi Andrew, compassion is totally essential in building trust (along with competence and integrity), which is one of the key drivers for high performance in businesses and individuals.
I have researched trust building quite extensively and have defined compassion as; understanding AND accepting that other people might care deeply about things that we do not. This gives it more grounding in reality and is understandable to people.
An example of this is that when I joined a business 11 years ago and asked my team what I could do to make their life better, they said they would like me to sort out some defined car park spaces for our team. I personally didn't care about this and didn't do too much about it. Fatal mistake because what I learned was that it was a small part of the team feeling accepted and included in the business - we were a support team and all operational teams had defined car parking spaces so us not having any meant that we were seen as outsiders and not part of things. Once I realised this and made more effort to sort this out, I could see a change in my team - that's what I define as compassion.

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Replying to clive boorman:
Shonette new
By Shonette
05th Sep 2016 14:59

Nice example - even seemingly small gestures can have such a big impact!

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Professional Development, Organizational Behavior
By ivanalexander
26th Sep 2016 23:49

Organizations who practice compassion for one another has probably gone through some sort of team building or culture change. Which are essential components to improving the overall performance. If we had more compassion in the workplace stress levels and comradery would prevail, thus a better and stronger team.

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