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Becoming a Compassionate Leader in the Digital World

As a member of a family struggling to pay their bills, Brian Tracy has raised many leaders in his million-dollar company after 8 years of travel and has opened our horizons with his word that guides us now; “True leaders are guides that people voluntarily follow with love, not fear.”

In recent years, especially with the pandemic, almost all leaders have taken different initiatives to research digital transformation and new digital technologies and adapt their benefits to their lives. With the new generation digital transformation, both companies and leaders introduce new management styles in order to manage their environment more beneficially. In order for companies to transition to compassionate management with digital transformation, leaders need to be transformed first.

The prevailing, undisputed, decision maker or leadership management approach that we are accustomed to from the past leaves its place to a more visionary, embracing, empathetic, inspiring, guiding and compassionate leadership approach that allows for action with the digital transformation. The online communication and multidisciplinary management process, which has become much more involved in our lives with the pandemic, provides a much faster and more accepted environment for the formation of compassionate leadership. We see that we need leaders who follow innovations and think and manage spiritual possibilities in the light of up-to-date information in the digital age.

A Harvard Business Review study found that employees with compassionate leaders are 25 percent more engaged, 20 percent more committed, and 11 percent less likely to be burnt out. This research clearly shows us how much we need compassionate leadership in the digital age. Especially, the fact that leaders who work with different age groups keep up with digital transformation, listen to their teammates and solve their problems, crises or show direction to solve them, makes the power of this concept much bigger.

Leaders who follow digital technologies up-to-date and are open to continuous learning, who can apply digital technology to management processes, who can transfer them to company goals in the most beneficial way, and who can combine strategy, culture, technology, communication, psychological observation and data in order to do all these, are compassionate in the digital age. they represent leadership.

It is necessary to create a management, institution and leadership environment that makes employees feel safe in order to enable them to participate in the process by hearing and speaking, taking risks and taking action. Gaining the belief and trust of the employee and making them feel that he is with them in good and bad times are the sine qua non of compassionate leadership. Feeding on failure as well as success, not being afraid of making mistakes, and showing the courage to take risks are among the best risks that compassionate leaders can take, both for themselves and their institutions.

In addition to all these, although compassionate leadership is adopted in theory in hierarchical structures, motivation is among the most important priorities that should not be forgotten in the step of putting it into practice. Although theory is always important, it is difficult to expect it to immediately create spiritual courage in the person in the transition phase to practice. At this stage, it is very important for the compassionate leader to motivate his team, guide and enable them to take steps. The subject includes a little spiritual and psychological observation beyond the concept.

The leader, who is a good observer with emotional flexibility, will know when, in which situation and in which subject focus the team members should come forward and will take the necessary action. DELL’s CEO says, “You don’t need to be a genius or a dreamer or even a college graduate to be successful. All you need is a sketch and a dream.” says. It is not necessary to dream and to be side by side in the digital world after creating the outline, and it is only in our hands to make the distances close.

So what should we do together as a result of these observations?

The most important power that digital transformation adds to our world is the presence of analysis and data. As a result of observation, data and analysis emerge, and the first question leaders should ask themselves within the framework of this formation is “What does my team expect from me as a good compassionate leader?” should be. As a result of the leader’s empathy with the other, analyzing, feeling, observing and inspiring his emotional needs, the opportunity to take action will increase considerably.

Maintaining your leadership in digital and online meetings as well as in real life will allow your management to be consolidated and not conflicted. While guiding the example, make sure you do that action too. While you are conveying to your team that working from outside is the necessity of the digital age and defending this, it will cause conflict for them to see you working from the office all the time. Or, while it will guide the correctness of the people involved in an online conversation, even if it is a little, about the accuracy of expressing an opinion or comment, it will allow a great distrust and contradiction if you occupy the entire time and do not let people have a say. It is essential to be consistent and provide space for your leadership actions to be taken for granted by the community.

I would like to share five suggestions that I attach importance to and never hesitate to implement for a sustainable management and existing as a compassionate leader in the digital world.

1Think like the other person, not like yourself, and find yourself in different lives.
For example; during an important online presentation, look at the actions of the people you want to influence and be sure to use a small anecdote you catch orally in the course of the presentation.

2By giving personal responsibility, make them feel that the only owner of the existing responsibility and the boss, so to speak, is that employee.
For example; create controlled crises in a responsibility that a member of your team thinks they can’t do. As long as you have the main control and make your team member feel the main message, trust will increase and capability will increase.

3Create psychological trust and prove with your actions that this trust is real, not fake.

4Take care to set an example, discover innovations and share what you discover with your digital world knowledge and management understanding. By sharing knowledge and experience, you multiply, and as long as you start this chain, you step into being a role model and allow new leaders to emerge.

5Even if you take on different personas depending on the place, time and situation, do not stay away from your true identity and character. Although the world is digital, humans are always real and tangible.

With these five action points, all the power lies in the true story within you for a formation that will create, reinforce and sustain your compassionate leadership and enable new compassionate leaders like you. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” says Lao Tzu. Take the first step of a thousand miles now!

Original content published on HBR Türkiye.

Eren Günay
Eren Günay