EES HR Blog
Is compassion an action or an emotion? Some religions consider compassion an emotion, like feeling empathy for another person. In modern psychology, compassion is regarded as an action aimed at ridding others of their troubles or consoling them in their suffering (Chowdhury, 2019). Regardless of these two differing positions, compassion is not a give or take scenario. People who show compassion do not expect to receive the same or get something in return. Compassion is simply kindness in action!
Psychologists have argued that compassionate people in the workplace bridge large gaps and reap positive benefits! For instance, leaders who exhibit compassion build positive relationships that encourage others to contribute to a common goal. Compassion based organizations have proven they can provide a wider perception of others, encouraging co-workers to accept individuals for who they are. Furthermore, recent research findings recognize compassion as an essential aspect of having a beneficial and productive workplace while creating more desired results (Chowdhury, 2019). Leaders tend to see a positive change in themselves and others when compassion is incorporated into the organizational approach as this allows for more openness and honesty between colleagues.
In addition, people who show compassion to others often experience compassion satisfaction. This is a natural positive outcome and can be defined as the contentment we receive from showing others compassion. That’s just a brief explanation so let’s take it a step further. We can be more attentive at work knowing that others care about us and we care about them, ultimately providing meaningful work relationships that create a healthy work environment for everyone (Chowdhury, 2019). Compassion satisfaction is experienced when we see those we had compassion on succeed. Knowing that you helped someone through a downtime is a reminder of how significant you can be in someone else’s life!
Interestingly enough, compassion satisfaction even has a scientific explanation! It creates an organic feeling of fulfillment from the natural release of dopamine when we do something positive for another individual. Dopamine plays a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior. It is what makes us feel good about doing the right thing when no one is watching or helping someone in need when we receive nothing in return.
A final important aspect of this compassion at work concept is to practice self-compassion. Until we are kind to ourselves, we will never understand the importance of showing others kindness (Chowdhury, 2019). Remembering to be true to positive work ethics and proving yourself worthy of your job is having self-compassion. Working through hard times instead of giving up is practicing self-compassion. Posting encouraging sticky notes in your work area is showing kindness and being positive to yourself! This may sound funny to some; nonetheless, positive self-talk is a great way to keep you strong and healthy!
I hope you can consider compassion to be a changing element in your work environment and put it into practice with those around you! Be a paradigm with compassion in action!
Whatever your professional role may be, you can choose to be a leader by setting the compassionate example! Take notice when someone is stressed, frustrated, or hurting, and let him or her know you care. Leave a "pick you up" note on someone’s car or desk remembering that a few words of encouragement can go a long way! Actively listen to your coworkers without judgment knowing that you don’t always have to provide an answer; just an open ear will do! Learn how to state your opinion without putting someone down. Be understanding with the occasional late arrival as some things really are out of an individual’s control. Lastly, do not forget to be kind to yourself!
Chowdhury, M. R. (2019). Compassion at Work: Using Compassionate Leadership in the Workplace. Retrieved from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/compassion-at-work-leadership/
Jessica Saxton is a researcher, writer, business marketer, and musician who recognizes the power of positivity, faith in God, and gratitude as an essential part of life. She holds a masters degree in professional counseling and is experienced in human resource development. She loves to help others grow through information sharing, networking, and simple encouraging words!