Instilling Compassion Through Intelligent Leadership

March 18, 2022

Intelligent leadership and compassion are inseparable. One supports the other and vice-versa. Learn how intelligent leadership instills compassion and empathy.

Overview: The essence of intelligent leadership is to effect positive change and positively impact people’s lives. Emotional intelligence is a central element of intelligent leadership. And together with empathy, compassion is a consequence and constituent of emotional intelligence.

“Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” – Dalai Lama.

Intelligent leadership values human capital more than anything. Intelligent leaders treat their employees as valuable resources and care for them accordingly. 

Compassion, empathy, self-awareness, and vulnerability are at the core of this leadership style, allowing business leaders to effectively care for their employees, building engagement, motivation, and satisfaction. 

Compassion is concern and care. 

Compassion is a Proactive Leadership Skill

To understand compassion and its impact on leadership and the workforce, you must understand the difference between compassion and empathy.

Empathy is the ability to sense, feel, and understand others’ emotions as if they were your own. Compassion is the willingness and intent to do something to facilitate the happiness of others. 

To some degree, empathy is a passive leadership skill. Compassion, on the other hand, is a proactive skill. One cannot be compassionate while standing on the sideline. 

Why Compassion Matters

Compassionate leaders interact directly and genuinely with their peers and reports. Thus, they find it easier to build trust and motivate. 

A compassionate leader invests time and effort into people, actively seeking to facilitate their success. And those on the receiving end of compassion value this approach. 

Compassionate leadership creates psychological safety, stability, and mentorship. It allows people to assume psychological ownership of the work they do. And when all these variables come together, the result is empowerment, and the will to take the initiative in alignment with the organizational goals and values. 

How Intelligent Leadership Instills Compassion

Intelligent leadership values people over processes. This leadership philosophy seeks to bring out the best in the workforce, spurring people to reach for excellence instead of mediocrity. 

Emotional intelligence is the competence at the center of intelligent leadership. It requires leaders to exercise compassion and empathy in many ways. And it teaches them how to communicate with their reports to achieve optimal results. 

Opening Up to Fresh Perspectives

Intelligent leadership instills compassion by teaching leaders to be receptive to new perspectives. 

New perspectives often stem from diversity. With increasingly diverse workforces come many different ways of seeing things. Intelligent leadership considers diversity a strength due to the perspectives it provides. 

By opening up to fresh perspectives, leaders connect with their employees through understanding, empathy, and compassion. 

Active Listening

Being able to truly listen allows a leader to connect with peers and reports and lead with compassion. 

Active listening is essential from a technical perspective as it allows leaders to acquire and process information optimally. 

Far beyond the technical aspect, however, active listening builds trust, facilitates meaningful connections, and fosters open dialogue. It allows leaders to exercise compassionate leadership. 

Transparent and Open Communication

Communication skills constitute one of the building blocks of emotional intelligence. In the context of intelligent leadership, transparent communication is a cornerstone of trust and compassion. 

A leader who can communicate openly and transparently is a compassionate leader.

The Action of Compassion

Far from being a soft skill, compassion is a leadership skill that requires action. 

During times of stress and uncertainty, leaders have to actively demonstrate compassion, looking to allay the fears and answer the questions of their employees and peers. 

At-home work presents significant challenges in this regard. Leaders can address these challenges by

Compassion is an action. 

Intelligent leaders seize the silver linings of various events and share them with stakeholders. They reach out and share their plans to handle unfavorable situations. This way, they provide a light at the end of the tunnel for their employees, nurturing hope and improving morale. 


Leadership coaching understands that intelligent and mature leaders are optimists. And their brand of optimism is not a gamble or a psychological artifice to cope with adversity. It stems from the firm belief in the ability of their organization to handle adversity and to emerge from strife stronger and better prepared for the future. 

Intelligent leadership goes hand-in-hand with compassion, just as compassion walks in step with emotional intelligence. Its essence, above and beyond making decisions and creating competitive organizations, is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. 

To learn more about how you can join the IL Movement as a coach, or how you can benefit from bringing IL Solutions to your organization, contact us today


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