Compassion as the Bottom Line for Leaders

Aug 13, 2008 11:01 am

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)

I’ve always wanted to write a column making a connection between the Apostle Paul’s great hymn to love in his first letter to the Corinthians and the relentless demands of the modern workplace. If Paul were a leadership coach in today’s turbulent world, his bottom line, his non-negotiable benchmark in evaluating leaders, would be the degree of compassion they display in relationships. Regardless of spectacular business results, leaders earn a failing grade if they do not care about their followers’ well-being or if they show an inability to identify with the pain of people around them. Vision counts for nothing without compassion, charisma fades without it, and all the spin doctors in the world produce meaningless words if the leader does not connect in a caring, compassionate way with followers.

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WRITTEN BY
Dr. Sandy Cotton
Smiling woman. By Gabriel Silverio of Unsplash.com

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