Compassion is such a beautiful word. Compassionate people are those who can understand other people’s needs and feel the need to do something about them. Compassion is about understanding, being open-minded and working together towards mutual goals. But, what is compassionate leadership and is it possible to apply it in tech teams?
The truth is, compassionate leadership is best understood through the steps of its implementation. Just like in any other team, it can and should be applied in tech teams. This article will break down the most essential 6 steps in implementing compassionate leadership in tech teams. Let’s break it down together and see what it’s all about.
1. Guidance vs. Bossiness
Every team needs a leader. It’s a fact.
Without a leader, there’s no chance of the team succeeding to achieve all the goals, or even stay friendly towards each other.
A leader is a bare necessity that every tech team needs to have. But, what is the actual role of the leader?
Naturally, a leader is there to assign tasks and delegate what needs to be done. But, there’s a fine line between being in charge of the tasks and bossing people around. Compassionate leadership is about:
- assigning tasks to those people who are suitable for the job
- assigning a task to someone who’s never done it before, but you know you can push their limits and help them learn
- giving proper guidance and support during task completion
- assisting team members when they’re insecure or making a mistake
- assisting with transitions to a new role
When it comes to compassionate leadership, it’s about being a mentor and not someone who’s bossing around.
You need to understand what each of your team members can and cannot do and be there to support their progress.
2. Feedback vs. Single Opinions
Another majorly important step in implementing compassionate leadership is learning how to give and receive feedback.
Feedback is the building block of every successful team and it has to go in two directions:
- team leader to team members
- team members to team leader
This means that compassionate leadership knows how to conduct positive and negative feedback in a way that:
- takes into account all the circumstances
- teaches the team member a valuable lesson
- praises what is good
- advises on how to correct what has been done with less success
However, it also means that the compassionate leader needs to:
- ask for feedback on his leadership
- listen to the needs of the team members
- adopt their ideas and suggestions
“Compassionate leadership goes two ways. Everyone needs to be on the same page and that means exchanging feedback in both directions. That’s what a compassionate leader needs to do” says Nickolas Pearson, a psychologist and writer atTrust My Paper.
3. Innovation vs. Monotony
Technology is like an open book and there’s something new popping up every day. Thanks to young, talented, and enthusiastic innovators, the world is an innovation richer almost every day.
This is why a compassionate leader needs to nurture the raw talent and help the team members express their wild ideas.
The best way to do it is to:
- create an open work environment in which everyone gets a say
- allow team members to be creative
- allow team members to come up with their own solutions instead of serving them with one
- talk to the team members about different options to approach a single task
This type of an open work atmosphere will help the talent flourish and new ideas will be born.
Your team members will feel better in their own skin and allow themselves to express their best qualities.
4. Earning vs. Assuming Trust
It’s important that there’s a hierarchy in every team. But, a team leader can’t simply expect everyone to regard them as someone reliable, knowledgeable, or
The trust needs to be earned.
Sarah Turner, a team leader and editor at Wow Gradeagrees: “A true compassionate leader needs to understand he too has some proving to do. It’s not enough that you’re appointed to a position. You need to prove you earn it.”
To earn the trust of the team members and make the team even stronger, a compassion leader needs to:
- establish productive communication where he explains why he does things the way he does
- avoid assigning tasks without a follow-up explanation
- talk the team members through his decisions
The team needs to learn how and why to trust their team leader. A compassionate leader will give them all the reasons to feel safe in his hands and follow his example.
5. Values vs. Numbers
For any business to succeed, it’s important that all the employees are on the same page and work together towards the same goal. However, some team leaders choose the wrong means to inspire their team members to do so.
Focusing solely on the numbers won’t do the trick for the long run:
- setting income goals
- setting targets
- counting every new customer
When team members are focused on the numbers, they lose track of company values that make those numbers grow.
So, instead of telling your team members they need to find a way to increase the list of clients, you should instead have them focus on the company’s values:
- customer engagement
- dedication to each new project
- consistency in solid work
- team collaboration
When you inspire team members to nurture the true values of the company and the company culture and use those values as guidance in their work, the numbers will keep growing.
That’s what a true compassionate leader does.
6. Support vs. Singling Out
Finally, there’s one last thing step in the process of implementing compassionate leadership in tech teams.
Just like in any other team, mistakes are bound to happen. Someone is going to mess up and there are going to be consequences.
How a compassionate leader acts in these types of situations is of crucial importance.
So, instead of finding a person who’s responsible for the mistake and scolding them, you should:
- call everyone in for a meeting
- discuss the mistake
- make sure they know you’re all in it together
- show support and acknowledge the mistake as a mistake of the entire team
Then, you can come up with a solution to the problem together. This will make the team stronger, and help the team members feel like they can trust each other.
And that’s what makes a great tech team.
Compassionate leadership isn’t about being in charge of everything and telling people what and how to do. Instead, it’s about building trust, showing support, listening to team members’ needs, and acting upon it.
The steps above will help you start implementing compassionate leadership in your tech team. Take it one step at a time and build a strong team.
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