Pulse September 2020 - Page 64

TALENT TOPICS BY DAWN KAISER LEADING WITH COMPASSION DURING TIMES OF CRISIS LEADING IS HARD. Dealing with a global pandemic is harder still. Leading during a global pandemic is not only hard, but it also is stressful, confusing and overwhelming. When the pandemic first hit, spa owners and managers focused on putting out the fires that needed to be addressed: what needed to be shut down, how to shift people to working from home for those who could and how to furlough other employees as services to clientele were stopped. As leaders, we focused on projecting calmness, providing clarity and communicating regularly with our associates, but most leaders have overlooked a key element that is needed during these times of fluidity: COMPASSION. A crisis has disorienting effects on our daily lives, our economic activity and our mental health. A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation in April 2020 showed that almost half of its respondents stated that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health. Employees are emotionally and mentally overwhelmed and overloaded. As leaders, we must not give into the temptation to put our head down and focus only on the outward (clients). We need to focus inward as well, asking ourselves, “How do we help our employees?” Compassionate leadership is much more than just a feel-good add-on to your leadership tool belt, it is a prerequisite among leaders desiring to lead their people and businesses towards sustained progress and a hopeful future. In a new study led by Charmi Patel and Kiran Kandade, they surveyed 530 business leaders, managers and their immediate subordinates affected by the outbreak and what they discovered was: l Compassion increases engagement and hopefulness: Those who experienced compassionate leadership reported a 40 percent increase in commitment and engagement, and 45 percent reported being more hopeful. 52 PULSE ■ SEPTEMBER 2020