What Is Compassionate Leadership?

For our inaugural blog post, we thought we’d start with a question we are all curious about, Compassionate Leadership: “What is it?”

First, let’s start with a shared understanding of compassion. A classic definition of compassion is the desire to alleviate the suffering of others. When we break that down, we believe that effective compassion requires three elements: an awareness of others and their feelings, an empathetic response to their condition, and finally an ability and desire to act. The key is putting compassion into action.


Compassionate leadership emerges where leaders live and interact in ways that exhibit compassion for themselves, and in relationship with others. Compassionate leaders act intentionally to create positive impact in the world as a whole.

Compassionate Leadership is evolving in the moment, and sits at the intersection of multiple disciplines, including brain science, positive psychology, organizational and leadership development, quantum physics, and a range of contemplative practices including mindfulness. New science, new business data, new practices, and new methods shed light on how we can grow as individuals, teams and organizations.

People who practice compassionate leadership take a stand for the greater good. They create a new culture in their organizations that empowers everyone to live authentically on purpose, valuing individual contribution, and appreciating our common humanity. They are the leading edge of a new age of connection, creativity, and cooperation by acting with kindness, empathy, compassion and concern for others.

Rather than this being a revolution, though, compassionate leadership is an evolution, building on the best practices of modern leadership. The evidence for leading with compassion is compelling. Documented benefits include happier, more fulfilled employees who enjoy greater well-being and are more resilient. Such organizations also experience lower turnover rates, higher customer satisfaction, and enhanced productivity.

Leaders come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and ages, and are found everywhere, including small groups, classrooms, families, for-profit and non-profit organizations, entrepreneurial startups, governments, the military, and school systems. Compassionate leadership is a powerful tool for any leader of any group to embrace, and the results are immediate and transformative.

In our next blog post, we’ll answer another, more personal question: “What is the Center for Compassionate Leadership.” Until then, welcome to the movement!

It’s time to cultivate a more compassionate approach to how we lead in the world, and create the “you-and-me” way to the benefit of everyone and everything.

It’s time for “Leadership, Evolved.”