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Are You a Compassionate Boss? Here’s Why You Should Be

How ‘coaching with compassion’ fosters success, makes employees feel valued and fosters positive emotions in the workplace.

Source | | Richard Boyatzis, Melvin Smith and Ellen Van Oosten, Expert Contributors

Building a small business is all about change. As a business owner, you need to focus not only on your customers and technology, but also your staff — the ones who are responding to customers, creating, making and delivering your goods or services.

Staff members are instrumental to accomplishing tasks and reaching goals. As your business grows, your staff needs to be open to new ideas, change perspectives, be alert for shifts in your market and stay attuned to what your competitors are doing.

However, for many business owners, when a staff member has an issue, the focus ends up being on the problem and not the person — making what could be an opportunity to develop the person simply a task to be fixed.

When considering your management style, you first have to decide whether you want to focus on your business’s short-term results or long-term results and adaptability. The former will seduce you into using a more task-driven method — running you the risk of turning people off and reducing engagement.

But if you decide to focus on the long your long-term health and adaptability of your business, and on the desire for your employees to feel excited, engaged and motivated to learn and change, then you shift your primary focus to their development.

These two methods are what we call “coaching for compliance” and “coaching with compassion.”

Why employee compliance alone is not sustainable

When you are in task mode, you do not see the other people around you, let alone their new ideas or desire to grow and develop. When you offer help, it can slip into the form of directive advice, corrective actions, or “constructive criticism.” This is coaching for compliance.

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