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Importance of Self-compassion for a Leader

It is not uncommon for leaders to feel fear, doubt, and criticism when faced with difficult decisions that will have a major impact. But what’s needed in times of uncertainty and disruption is mental clarity, emotional balance, and vision. Self-compassion plays a strong role in emotional intelligence and effective leadership. 

Here are some key tips for developing this critical skill:

EQ: To become a self-compassionate person, you need to be an empathetic individual first, as both are interrelated. EQ or Emotional Quotient is the quality that makes a person empathetic. It is the ability to understand, manage, and communicate your emotions positively. This quality is also necessary to become a social human being. Since not a single day goes by without interaction, in an average person’s life. Because of this fact, unlike before, organizations are readily investing in the development of EQ among their employees.

Characteristics of people with high EQ:

  • Self-awareness 
  • Empathy
  • Balanced
  • Kind
  • Curious
  • Changemakers
  • Good social skills

Some tips to improve your EQ are:

  • Be social – Emotionally intelligent people come off as approachable. They utilize appropriate social skills based on their relationship with whomever they are around.

  • Be motivated - Emotionally intelligent people are self-motivated and their attitude motivates others. They set goals and are resilient in the face of challenges.

  • Take criticism well – An important part of increasing your emotional intelligence is to be able to take critique. Instead of getting offended or defensive, they can constructively resolve any issues.

  • Stress management – Stress if remained unchecked, can affect your sense of judgment. A bit of humor during work is a great way to manage it.

Rewire Your Brain: Spending at least 10 minutes each day meditating on self-compassion. As we know from research on neuroplasticity, what we think and pay attention to changes the structures and functions of our brain to make these habits easier. By dedicating time regularly to build the capacity for self-compassion, we are training the brain to incline towards self-kindness, making it an easier and more habitual response when things are tough.

Shift your mindset: You can shift your mindset toward self-compassion through writing. According to a study students who actively exercised self-compassion through writing, exercises reported a greater motivation to change, a greater desire to address weaknesses, and exhibited higher effort to improve overall. 

Do this writing exercise to see if it benefits you. Write an encouraging letter to yourself, and try to answer it with honesty. Once you have written the letter, take a moment to read over it and notice whether you feel a greater sense of openness towards your challenges. You might also revisit this letter in the future, during times when you may need motivation.

Finally, no matter the struggles you face, having a sense of self-compassion is the only way to get back up stronger.


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