First things first let’s dispel a myth: Compassion does NOT mean weakness. It does not. Accept that right off the bat. If you don’t accept that then let me dig into it for you some and show you exactly what I mean, stay tuned, I will explain.
Leadership is hard, I don’t care which way you slice it, leadership is hard. Some of us (me) come by it naturally, it’s just what we do and what we’re good at, but that doesn’t make it easy. As a leader I am responsible for a large number of people, all with different baggage, attitudes, belief systems, ideas, and mostly things that hold them back from believing in themselves. And as a leader of a network marketing company team I have the extra added weight of I cannot threaten these people with loss of job, salary, benefits, etc etc like a regular job, nope, I am the inspirer, the teacher, coach, mentor, and most often I find myself working to get a person OVER her disbelief in herself. Sister lemme tell you, that.is.hard.
If you think leadership is easy I wanna know your secrets.
Back to how compassion is not weakness. The compassionate people are most often (not always) the ones who choose peace over an argument, who choose to lead with love and understanding instead of an iron fist stomping their feet and demanding things of their people. They choose NOT to act in anger– note: I didn’t say that they chose not to BE angry, only that they choose not to act in that anger– BIG difference. BIG difference.
Anger is easy. Anyone can get angry, be angry, stay angry, act out in anger. That’s simple, easy, and boy do we ALL do it. Even the compassionate ones. Go ahead, admit it. People choose anger because it’s easy. And that choice is made without them even realizing it.
Now think about the times when you decided to step back, take a breath and not act in anger, to instead lead with compassion– how hard was that? VERY hard. It is oh so hard, excruciatingly difficult to bite your tongue, to hold back from cussing them up one side and down the other as my father would say. That’s TOUGH.
Still think compassionate people are weak?
Nope. They’re just the ones who are strong enough to make the hard choices in life and in leadership.
So how DO you lead with compassion without letting people walk all over you?
It ain’t easy. Trust me. It’s a balancing act every single day of every single minute.
First thing you have to do is recognize your strength— see above. Read it twice if you need too til is sinks in.
Second allow yourself to be you. You are compassionate by nature, it’s just who you are, and yea folks take advantage of that all too often, way too often. Forgive them anyway, they are only human after all. But still be you. Love you for you and know that you are a rarity, that few can do what you do. Actually, that no one can do what you do. You are the only you.
Third speak firmly. This is not going to be easy for you, I know. But speak firmly. Say what you mean and mean what you say but don’t be mean about it. (How many “means” can we fit into one sentence?)
Fourth speak in love, act in love. So you’ve spoken firmly, and likely without even realizing it you have already spoken in love, but if you haven’t add love to your words, kindness, understanding, compassion, all the things you already are. Then act in love. Love is a verb, act on it. Do tangible things to support the person to whom you just spoke firmly. They will be upset, that’s not your problem, that’s theirs. You have spoken what needed to be said in love and with compassion, now act in love to follow that. You will feel peace in yourself.
Sometimes you need to remove yourself from the situation. Often I’ve found that people’s actions have absolutely nothing to do with me. Most often actually. It’s their problem, they’re struggling and they’re taking it out on me. So I walk away. I can’t fix it, I can’t help them, and they aren’t willing to help themselves, I’m not going to give of my time and gifts to help. I save myself a lot of heartache and grief when I do this. It’s difficult for me to just walk away but often it is exactly what the person needs. Try it.
Leading with compassion is as we’ve already said very difficult and requires the greatest amount of strength. So remember, always be true to you, to the voice in your heart, do what you know you need to do, not what anyone else tells you to do. If they think you’re weak remind yourself you’re strong. If they say you shouldn’t accept that excuse from her remind yourself that life happens and when it does happen to you you are going to be treated how you treated others when life happened to them and don’t you want them to show you compassion instead of telling you to suck it up? I do.
And finally, always know that the compassionate leaders succeed. Always. Our paths may take a little longer than others, but along the way we will pick up and maintain (the key to success in network marketing) the most loyal people because we have shown them love and understanding when the rest of the world has only beaten them up.
Isn’t that a better legacy to leave than the one who got to the top the fastest?