Step 2: Compassion, Love, Caring

Step 2: Compassion, Love, Caring


12 Simple Steps to Being an Exceptional Leader

Blog step 2

The second of the 12 steps to being an exceptional leader are the combination of three characteristics; caring, love & compassion.  Caring, love, & compassion are important qualities for everyone including leaders.  The meanings of these three words overlap & are often hard to differentiate; thus grouped together.  These are positive characteristics that most people would like to possess, or strive to possess.  The truth is we vary in our quality & quantity of these.  A person can be a leader without having these characteristics; but what kind of a leader is that person?  For that matter what kind of person would he or she be?  If you give a bit of thought, you can probably think of a few people you know personally or from history, who have lacked these characteristics.  There is no reason for someone to not possess these qualities; they can be developed & improved upon if we are mindful of our actions & our being.

Apply these qualities to yourself.  Without caring, loving, & being compassionate to yourself you will not be able to share those qualities with others.  To effectively care for others requires strength & energy which can only be achieved with self-care.  As you learn to care for yourself you will learn to care for others.

Compassion is sometimes described as sympathy, empathy, or even pity.  But compassion is none of these; though sympathy & empathy are part of compassion.  Having been an RN for many years I know I felt & had compassion for patients & their families.  However, I never tried to explain the feeling.  Feelings are difficult to explain, Psychology Today, 2009, has an excellent article describing what compassion is and is not.  Compassion shifts thinking from  “I” to “we” & is an important component of good leadership.

The Dalai Lama stated:

“Before we can generate compassion and love, it is important to have a clear understanding of what we understand compassion and love to be. In simple terms, compassion and love can be defined as positive thoughts and feelings that give rise to such essential things in life as hope, courage, determination, and inner strength. In the Buddhist tradition, compassion and love are seen as two aspects of the same thing: Compassion is the wish for another being to be free from suffering; love is wanting them to have happiness.”


Love according to the above statement is wanting another to have happiness.  We recognize different types of love, different feelings of love.  A leader needs to have a love that demonstrates care & the desire for the happiness of others.  Is this something you experience in your work place?  Though we may develop positive relationships (loving, caring, compassionate) with co-workers we do not usually experience the overall work culture as being one of love.

Caring according to one Internet source is someone or something that shows kindness and concern for others.  Showing concern, being kind are qualities that I consider important for everyone to have, including leaders.  Can someone lead if they are not kind & have concern for others? Of course they can.  But again let’s think about the kind of person & leader that person would be.

Compassion, love, & caring are qualities we need to expect of ourselves, of others, & of our leaders.  If we set these as expectations & let others know maybe we will see a better, more peaceful, & loving world.  Though leadership involves much more than personal characteristics; some characteristics make a formal leader easier to follow.