Nurturing a Culture of Compassion ~ by Lori Ewald

The world feels like it has turned upside down and on it’s head over the last year and a half.  We’ve experienced a pandemic, unemployment, political fall-out, social unrest and more.  Nobody is the same person they were last year, and many are still living in fear.  Life just seems really hard right now.  It is during times like this when the world needs compassion and empathy.

Compassion is defined in the dictionary as sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others, but in practice it really means to have genuine care for others.  Although, compassion wouldn’t be the first trait mentioned when we look to hire folks, it is a critical one which can make a huge impact.  Compassion connects people and creates stronger bonds.

How many of us have a friend or relative that has struggled with life and made a decision we didn’t necessarily agree with?  How did you handle them?  Did you take a moment to have a conversation with them?  Did you let them know that what they did wasn’t the best choice?  Did the words “What can I do to help you” come out of your mouth?  Did that friend/family member help YOU get through a tough time or bad decision, and made YOU feel like you weren’t alone and gave YOU another chance?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you understand compassion  and what a difference it makes.

What if we transferred that same care and concern to our work family?  What if we nurtured a Culture of Compassion and became compassionate leaders?  Harvard Business School recently reported that empathy and the ability to connect to employees are the two (2) highest sought after traits in the CEO’s of tomorrow.

The team members who work for us were all hand selected by someone in our organization.  We saw something in each one of our team members.  Once they joined H5H they became part of our family.  It is our responsibility to care for these team members, share the vision of the High 5 Hospitality, and coach them so that we can achieve our goals.
Nurturing a  Culture of Compassion   during such uncertainty in the world will set us apart from other companies and not just make us a good company, but a great one.

So what is a  Culture of Compassion  ?  A culture of compassion is one in which everyone shows a genuine care and concern for each other.  It is a mindset where we ditch the “I” mentality and we encourage the “we” mentality.  It’s a place where we take the time to respond and not to simply react.  It’s a place where we provide solutions and tools to help others be better.  It’s a place of positive reinforcement and inclusion.  It’s a place for open and honest communication.  It’s a place for consistency.   It’s a feeling of loyalty, trust and collaboration to succeed.   It’s where we uphold our standards, realize we are human, and work towards achieving our goals together.  It’s possessing a wisdom of understanding our people and what motivates them and then leading them to success.  It’s a place where we are kind before we are anything else.

How do we nurture a  Culture of Compassion  ?  It starts with every single person.  Have conversations with your team members, managers and co-workers.  Learn about who they are.  When we see team members doing something which goes against our core values, remind them of who we are as an organization and ask them how we can help or offer up solutions.  Circle back to team members who you know are going through difficult times and check in with them.  Utilize Performance Improvement Plans to coach and mentor, not to document constantly so that you can terminate their employment.  Feel free to sit down and do a  Performance Improvement Plan together.  Hold them to our standards and provide solutions and tools when they struggle.  Challenge yourself to positively reinforce 3-5 behaviors each day that you witness your team demonstrate.  Give kudos.  Recognize positive changes in team members.  Thank them for coming to work on time, helping another team member, or having a great attitude when they approach tables.  Have fun.

Culture of Compassion breeds leaders who “do hard things in a human way”  and that will make all the difference.  Today’s world is asking more of us.  Are you able to commit to being tough on standards while being soft on people?  What are you willing to do to become a more compassionate leader?

Bridge the Gap!