Today our guest is Scott Shute, head of mindfulness and compassion, at LinkedIn. Scott is the author of, The Full Body Yes. Scott’s vision is to change work from the inside out, and his mission is to mainstream mindfulness and operationalize compassion for the 3.3 billion workers in the world.
In this episode, you will discover the mindset and practices of companies that are 14 times more profitable than the standard S&P average, by spreading mindfulness and compassion at work.
What is Compassion and Where Does a Lack of Compassion Come From?
Compassion is awareness of others, a mindset of wishing the best for them, and then the courage to take action.
The antonym of compassion is your inner critic. We allow our inner critic to run rampant inside our heads, triggering our fight or flight response. Our amygdala, formerly used to ignite that fight or flight response that kept us safe from predators, is now used in less extreme situations. Today, this response might go off during times when our kids are arguing in the next room while we are on a Zoom call.
Our inner critic is driven by fear. Our inner critic focuses 99% of our energy on the 1% of our life that is hard or wrong. Scott calls this pothole management. There could be 1000 miles of perfect road and one pothole, and we will spend 99% of our time concerned about that one pothole.
Because of our inner critic, we don’t spend any of our time on the 999 miles of perfect road.
A Compassionate Leadership Mindset
The most important asset we have is our people. What we know is when our people are at their best, the company is going to be at its best.
Thinking you need to project confidence and be feared by your employees is outdated - and ineffective - thinking. Inside this old approach, leaders told their employees what to do, and their employees did what was said without questioning it in fear of getting replaced.
That world is gone.
The power has shifted from the company and its leaders to the employees. Employees today have more power in where they work, and who they work for, more than ever before. The best people write their own tickets to the best companies. If you want to be successful as a leader, you must treat your employees as the most valuable resource you have.
Compassionate Leaders Focus on Authenticity - Be Human
People don't want to work for a robot. Being human allows your employees to see that you are just like them rather than feeling a sense of separation. There is typically a sense of separation where employees can't identify or connect to their leader when the leader is seen as too perfect, or has a facade of perfection. When perfection is presented, employees believe they can not achieve that perfection, leading to despair and defeat.
If leaders deeply know themselves, they can then know other people. Compassionate leaders have a mindset of kindness that enables them to wish the best for others.
Compassionate Leaders Communicate Clear Purpose & Values
Strong leaders have a clear purpose, centered values (individually and organizationally), and clear communications-- and they never deviate from that. They repeatedly share where the company and team is going and why it’s important.
Compassionate Leaders Have the Courage to Take Action
Compassionate leaders have courage to take action for themselves and others. They declare that they are going to do the hard things for themselves, which allows them to then do the hard things for others.
In Google's Project Aristotle, researchers discovered that the number one factor in building a high performance team was psychological safety.