When talking about leadership, we tend to focus on the hard skills required for a clinical leadership role. And while it is evident that hard skills are critical for effective clinical leadership, it is the soft skills that separate exceptional leaders from the rest. Exceptional leadership requires a level of human connection that is only made possible when there is a high-level of trust between employees and leadership. Recently, hiring managers across industries have been placing a greater emphasis on the soft skills that allow leadership to connect with their teams and lead with compassion.
According to one 2019 study, there has been a recent uptick in the trust placed in employee-employer relationships. Of those surveyed, the study found that “73 percent of people believed companies could improve profits while improving socioeconomic conditions, up from 64 percent last year and a majority of people believe CEOs can positively affect pay equity, discrimination and job training”1.
The increase in trust between employers and employees indicates a shift in dominant attitudes toward institutions over the past decade. With this, there is in an opportunity for organizational leaders to build genuine, honest relationships with teams that benefit stakeholders on every level.
The effects of compassionate leadership on performance:
A recent study by the Harvard Business Review observed that “out of more than 4,500 doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel, 71% tied disruptive behavior, such as abusive, condescending or insulting personal conduct, to medical errors, and 27% tied such behavior to patient deaths.”2
And while this should be reason enough to build a business case for compassionate leadership, an inability to do so can also have a significant impact in that “incivility shuts down people in other ways too. Employees contribute less and lose their conviction, whether because of a boss saying, ‘If I wanted to know what you thought, I’d ask you,’ or screaming at an employee who overlooks a typo in an internal memo.”2
As Maya Angelou so famously put it “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you mad them feel”. For this reason, compassionate leadership can be used as a secret weapon in a day in age when professional relationships can be easily strained due to large workloads and lack of proximity to colleagues/ leadership.