One of the most powerful tools for building trust in the workplace is compassion. When your employees know you’re on their side, they’ll naturally be on your side as well. In many ways, good leadership is about getting people to want to help you achieve you and your team’s goals. They want to not for money or for job security, but because they know you care.
The thing is, this kind of care has to be genuine. Genuine care builds loyalty and trust. So, how do you cultivate this sense of genuine care and compassion for the people you work with?
Start With Yourself
Building compassion is like building a muscle. If you haven’t “worked out” the muscle much, it’s best to start somewhere easy. Instead of trying to build compassion for strangers, start with someone you naturally care about. The easiest person is, of course, yourself.
Just spend a few minutes a day repeating to yourself:
- May I be well.
- May I be happy.
- May I be free from suffering.
You could also make up your own sentences, ones that resonate with you more. Don’t just repeat the words to yourself, but send genuine good intentions to yourself. Do this until it feels easy and like second nature.
Build Compassion With People You Like
Next, repeat this exercise with people that you already like. Start first when you’re alone, perhaps at the end of your meditation practice. Send good intentions to the people in your life who you like and love already.
Then, start practicing this kind of compassion as you’re interacting with them. “May you be happy,” “may you be well.” You don’t need to say anything out loud, just send them that intention.
Soon, you’ll start reconditioning your mind to actually be more loving and more compassionate to these people in your life. They might not consciously recognize the difference, but they’ll feel the difference in your demeanor and likely respond in kind.
Applying This With New People
Next, start using this practice with strangers. Again, to make things easier, start by practicing alone. For example, sit in a cafe and send good intentions to strangers as they’re walking by. Or, you could run through the new acquaintances you made at last night’s mixers, wishing each person well in turn.
Then, start sending good intentions to people as you meet them for the first time. “May this person be well,” “may you be happy.” People who’re meeting you for the first time will instantly feel this sense of compassion.
There’s both an immediate and a cumulative effect to this practice. Right from the beginning, when you do this practice, you’ll start to notice yourself becoming more and more compassionate. You’ll probably feel it most strongly as you’re meditating, or just moments after. Cumulatively however, the effect is even greater. And it lasts.
You’ll become a more compassionate person. You’ll become a leader who inspires trust and loyalty. Others will see – without words – that you care about them. They, in turn, will care about you. It’s a truly powerful practice and it only takes a few minutes a day. Why not give it a try?