Monday, 15 May 2017

Managing with Compassion

Do you consider yourself a manager with compassion? Most of us would probably like to think we can be empathetic with staff particularly in times of need. Yet, traditionally and continually so management styles tend to have a top down focus. Gaining consensus on ideas developed at the top is considered change management. Internal communication is effectively delivering the message from above. Leadership by empowering employees yet still focussed on a management by objectives approach. None of these are truly managing with compassion.

Managing with compassion encompasses all aspects of a business; structure, communication, approach to innovation, performance management, and leadership. It requires us to rethink our approach at all levels. A compassionate approach will define policies and procedures. It will travel through all levels of the hierarchy and create the culture of the organisation.

Managing by compassion is your lean strategy for an agile organisation that can respond quickly to changing global needs. Take the recent example in United Airlines. In the latest apology on May 1st 2017 to the House Transportation Committee in Congress United CEO Oscar Munoz said, "Our employees did not have the authority to do what was right or use common sense," Munoz said. "This has to be a turning point for 87,000 professionals here at United." In an earlier statement, Munoz had also said their focus on policies had overridden their values of treating customers well. In a compassionate environment staff are empowered to make decisions based on the company values and what he/she believes is the right action. This is a learning lesson for all organisations. Most will not receive the high profile attention that United had but nevertheless a compassionate approach will influence customer service interactions at all levels and ultimately the bottom line.