It’s understandable for leaders to get caught up in fear, doubt, and criticism when facing critical business decisions that will have a major impact on lives and livelihoods. But what’s needed in times of uncertainty and disruption is mental clarity, emotional balance, fortitude, and vision. To move from self-doubt and paralysis to clarity and action, you need an often-misunderstood skill: self-compassion. Based on our experience training tens of thousands of leaders on the role of self-compassion in emotional intelligence and effective leadership, we’d like to share some key tips and techniques for cultivating this critical skill.
First, it’s useful to accurately understand self-compassion. Put simply, it means taking a perspective toward yourself as you would with a friend or colleague who is facing a setback or challenge. It’s skill that is simple, but it’s surprisingly difficult for many of us. According to Kristen Neff, one of the leading researchers on the subject, there are three core elements to self-compassion: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Many mistakenly avoid self-compassion, believing that it means being easy on yourself and will lead to being complacent. But self-compassion in fact is the foundation for resilience and helps you develop the courage to face hard facts. In taking a constructive — rather than critical or harsh — attitude toward your efforts as a leader, you build your capacity to navigate challenges and unpredictability.
The amount of research on self-compassion has grown significantly over the past fifteen years, and studies show that the benefits and practical methods align with several important leadership skills.
Source: Havard Business Review