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Awakening Compassion at Work by Raj Sisodia, Jane E. Dutton, Monica Worline

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10

LEADING FOR COMPASSION COMPETENCE

WE LOOK TO LEADERS FOR guidance, particularly in times of suffering, as we search for a vision of compassion. Leadership scholar Ron Heifetz points out this emotional tie between leaders and followers in the midst of adversity: “In times of distress, we turn to authority. To the breaking point, we place our hopes and frustrations upon those whose presumed knowledge, wisdom, and skill show the promise of fulfillment. Authorities serve as repositories for our worries and aspirations, holding them, if they can, in exchange for the powers we give them.”1

We have hinted at the symbolic power of leaders to model compassion and shape meaning in an organization’s social architecture, but here we explore this central ...

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