Compassionate Leadership in Health and Social CareCompassionate Leadership in Health and Social Care

Think about what you personally want from a health and social care provider.

Most likely your first answer is compassion from the employees caring for you.

However, it is important to recognise that compassionate staff are only the result of a compassionate culture, and more specifically, compassionate leadership.

What exactly is compassion?

Literally compassion means to “suffer together”, and although similar to empathy and altruism, it is not the same thing.

Within the health and social care industry, having compassion means to be faced or confronted with someone else’s suffering and in turn, feeling motivated to relieve that suffering.

So, where does compassionate leadership factor in this?

Let’s take a closer look.

Why is compassion needed in health and social care?

Although this may seem an obvious trait for health and social care professionals, you will be surprised by just how many people who work in this industry are not compassionate towards their patients. This is despite the fact that people are at their most vulnerable when using these types of services, and are likely to be experiencing frightening and unprecedented times in their lives.

Furthermore, both compassion and empathy can have a significant impact on a patient’s health outcome, enablement, and overall satisfaction, as well as having the ability to reduce the number of malpractice complaints.

What makes a compassionate leader?

As briefly mentioned above, ’employees are far more likely to demonstrate compassion to patients and colleagues if that is what they experience from their leaders and in their working cultures. Compassionate Leadership therefore needs to be a crucial part of your role as a manager or leader within the health and social care sector.

There are four key requirements for compassionate leadership:

  1. Attending
  2. Understanding
  3. Empathizing
  4. Helping

Furthermore, a compassionate leadership style should support practices that:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Provide support
  • Harness positive responses to challenges
  • Foster a culture of learning and development
  • Encourage open communication
  • Avoid punitive measures and a culture of blame
  • Forge trust
  • Encourage innovation

What are the benefits of workplace compassion?

As well as the obvious advantages of having compassionate employees within the health and social care industry, there are also several other benefits, both for the business and for the staff, of encouraging a compassionate culture.

These include:

  • Increased employee retention: Employees who receive empathy and compassion from their managers are much more likely to remain loyal and committed to the business. On the other hand, employees that are treated badly and offered little in the way of compassion will lose the motivation to work productively.
  • Reduced stress: The mental wellbeing of employees in the health and social care sector is paramount; how can you expect them to care for their patients if they cannot care for themselves? Employees who are treated with compassion show significantly lower stress levels than those who are not.
  • Better interpersonal bonds: Leaders and managers who adopt a compassionate approach at work have highly reciprocating employees who are dedicated to the company that they work for. This can lead to enhanced performance and a voluntary offer of support and care for other employees.

If you would like more information on how to become a more compassionate leader, and in turn create a compassionate workforce, then get in touch with us here today.

We offer bespoke learning for the leaders and managers of today and tomorrow, all of which can be delivered virtually or in person.

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