Compassionate Leadership: Beyond the Obvious
Have you, as a leader, ever overlooked some key element because you were so focused on the problem at hand? Sometimes, talking about compassionate leadership means really listening to an underperforming employee, getting to the root of a “bad” hire, or trying something new with a team that’s totally out of sync.
An unconventional approach can lead to big returns
It can be tempting to accept the status-quo, try the same approaches you’ve used before, or even avoid addressing a problem altogether. But exploring an unconventional approach can lead to big returns.
Such was the case for me when I brought my rescue dog, Grace, to see a chiropractor. Many would consider it a stretch in caring for a pet. But in hindsight, it was one of the most important things I ever did for Grace and for our relationship.
First of all, you might be thinking: “A chiropractor for a dog?!” When someone first suggested the idea, I had some vague awareness there was such a thing. But it certainly was not a service I had considered feasible in all my years of having dogs. However, I had become dissatisfied with all the traditional explanations for Grace’s seizures, fearfulness, and general anxiety. I decided it was time to try something totally new.
In my early years with Grace, my focus was solely on how to improve the mental anxiety she faced. I never, not in a million years, thought she had anything physical going on. However, I turned out to be way off base and it took a chiropractor to convince me.
The very first thing that shouted out to the chiropractor when she examined Grace was a cowlick. Apparently, it’s a major RED FLAG that indicates issues with the nervous system. Who knew? It turns out, that out-of-place patch of fur was an accurate signal of a problem. In fact, it revealed that Grace had long been experiencing a host of uncomfortable physical problems, including cranial compression and spinal issues.
Missing red flags can happen; stepping outside your comfort zone can fix them
Finding this out was mind-blowing. How I had I missed all the tiny red flags? The cowlick? It made me feel so much empathy for Grace who had been managing emotional AND physical stress. It immediately called to mind that quote: “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about it.”
This is true at work each day, as well. In my opinion, it’s unrealistic to expect that we can leave everything at the door. Family or financial struggles, health issues (physical or mental), and these days, general anxiety about the state of the world impact all of us. Just like how Grace wasn’t able to separate physical pain from her actions, especially when stressed!
The work the chiropractor did that day, in literally minutes, made a real difference in how Grace moved through her world. My husband and I could identify several tangible positive changes (both physical and mental).
Sometimes compassionate leadership means putting away preconceived notions or stepping outside our own comfort zone to find what works for our team.
Is there a cowlick staring at you?
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