Compassionate leadership is often mistaken for permissive leadership. Weakened leadership that leads with unicorns and rainbows. If you are leading your team from a weakened state, not to be confused with a vulnerable and empathetic state, than you are not engaging in compassionate leadership. You are engaging in permissive leadership. Compassionate leadership should leave your team dedicated, engaged, and uncomfortable.
Growth being uncomfortable seems odd. After all, we don’t want our people to grow with lack of confidence. However, the feeling of being out of your comfort zone has long been proved to be where growth comes from. You cannot grow if you continue to do only the things you are good at.
So how do you keep your team uncomfortable?
1. Challenge Them
Growth can’t happen without challeges. Doing the same thing they have always done, no matter how good, will eventually lead to stagnation. It is why competitions are seen as being a great growth area for people top in their field. Whether that competition is against themselves or other people, it ultimately will lead to growth: win or lose.
2. Teach Uncomfortably
When something grows uncomfortable, the first natural inclination is to get away from that sensation. Whether you are dealing with someone difficult at work, a difficult career change, or something else; it’s not the first instinct to remain in that place. Now this differs from instances in which harassment, abuse, or other extreme issues occur.
Teach your team that uncomfortable is good. If they aren’t feeling that twinge of fear, rush of butterflies, or at least stretched a bit then they may be headed to a plateau point. This isn’t something you have to do for them either. If you teach them to look for stagnation, they’ll continue pushing themselves to grow. They’ll grow more comfortable with the sensations of being uncomfortable and develop perseverance as a result.
You cannot grow if you continue to do only the things you are good at.
3. Failure = Growth
We are in a business culture plagued by fear. Fear that a mistake can cost you your career. Fear that failing means that you have the intrinsic value of a failure. Fear. Fear. Fear. And as humans often do, we run from it. It’s scary and uncomfortable.
We need to teach instead that while we want to minimize failure and mistakes as they DO have consequences, we need to also remind people that they have the choice of learning from these failures.
Mistakes are human. Growth is the opportunity.
Bottom line: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Stretch your team, including yourself. Grow. Grow messy. Grow with failure and mistakes but grow.