Leadership is hard. How can you balance compassion for your people with effectiveness in getting the job done?

A global pandemic, economic volatility, natural disasters, civil and political unrest. From New York to Barcelona to Hong Kong, it can feel as if the world as we know it is coming apart. Through it all, our human spirit is being tested. Now more than ever, it's imperative for leaders to demonstrate compassion.

But in hard times like these, leaders need to make hard decisions—deliver negative feedback, make difficult choices that disappoint people, and in some cases lay people off. How do you do the hard things that come with the responsibility of leadership while remaining a good human being and bringing out the best in others? Most people think we have to make a binary choice between being a good human being and being a tough, effective leader. But this is a false dichotomy. Being human and doing what needs to be done are not mutually exclusive. In truth, doing hard things and making difficult decisions is often the most compassionate thing to do.

As founder and CEO of Potential Project, Rasmus Hougaard and his longtime coauthor, Jacqueline Carter, show in this powerful, practical book, you must always balance caring for your people with leadership wisdom and effectiveness. Using data from thousands of leaders, employees, and companies in nearly a hundred countries, the authors find that when leaders bring the right balance of compassion and wisdom to the job, they foster much higher levels of employee engagement, performance, loyalty, and well-being in their people.

With rich examples from Netflix, IKEA, Unilever, and many other global companies, as well as practical tools and advice for leaders and managers at any level, Compassionate Leadership is your indispensable guide to doing the hard work of leadership in a human way.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright
  3. Dedication
  4. Contents
  5. Introduction: How to Do Hard Things in a Human Way
  6. 1. Unlearn Management, Relearn Being Human
  7. 2. Great Power Comes with Great Responsibility
  8. 3. Connect with Empathy, Lead with Compassion
  9. 4. Your Oxygen Mask First
  10. 5. Busyness Kills Your Heart
  11. 6. Be Here Now
  12. 7. Courage over Comfort
  13. 8. Direct Is Faster
  14. 9. Clarity Is Kindness
  15. 10. The Only Way Out Is Through
  16. Afterword: Your Transformation Makes for a More Human World of Work
  17. Appendix
  18. Acknowledgments
  19. Notes
  20. Index
  21. About the Authors