Lead Yourself with Compassion

The airline industry has got it right: when there are pressure issues in the cabin, they instruct us to put on our own oxygen mask first—to help ourselves—before helping others. This wisdom is equally important in leadership. In shouldering the responsibility of leadership, we take on a great deal of pressure. Self-compassion helps us lead ourselves in a way that mitigates this pressure and increases our leadership performance.

However, in our research and interviews, we have found that many leaders are rather tough on themselves. Their minds can go into a mode of negative self-talk and self-judgment. Noelene Mason, principal of Malibu School, a large special education school in Australia, shared with us how the ...

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