For many of us, it’s easy to think of work in a purely business sense. We show up, we go to meetings, we run our reports or work on our projects, we leave. But it’s often the human side of things that drives a business. It’s the collaboration and energetic teamwork. It’s looking out for our co-workers and taking a genuine interest in their lives.
Compassion in the workplace does make a difference. According to Amy Morin, contributor to Forbes online, there is clear evidence that “compassion not only improves workplace culture, but it can also help a company’s bottom line.” Among the benefits, Morin points to improved employee retention, reduced stress, and improved physical health.
How can a workplace become more compassionate and people-focused? It can start with tapping into its “green energy.”
Green energy is a term created by a self-evaluation program called Insights® Discovery. Insights® has its roots in the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and focuses on helping individuals and teams become more self-aware, improve communication, and develop an understanding of the thought and behavioral differences that occur between people.
According to the Insights® color model, every person is comprised of four different color energies, but we tend to exhibit one or two colors more than the others. Those who lead with green energy are often empathetic, inclusive, and concerned about others’ well-being. They are sensitive to the needs of others and are often very good at reading emotions. Those with a great deal of green energy may find themselves in careers such as nursing, teaching, or social work.
We all have a little “green” embedded in our personalities. By collectively tapping into that color energy, a workplace can become more compassionate and human-centric. Several studies conducted through the Wharton School of Business found that, regardless of the industry, companies that focus on compassion create a work culture “associated with greater satisfaction, commitment, and accountability.” They also found that this kind of caring culture can also trickle down to a company’s clients.
How can YOUR workplace begin to tap into its green energy? Simple, individual actions can make a huge difference. Start with the following:
1. Ask thoughtful questions
Show genuine interest in co-workers and clients. Practice seeing them as people—people with flaws, emotions, friends, family, and strengths that are yet to be discovered.
Put your own thoughts on hold and practice active listening.
3. Aim for understanding
Even if you think you don’t agree with someone, work to find common ground. Ask thoughtful questions about their stance, listen to what they have to say, and explain your own views in a non-threatening way.
4. Pay attention
Your attentiveness can potentially make the workplace more inclusive. Are there people in the office who seem to be left out of discussions? Does a certain co-worker seem dissatisfied with a project? Is a particular client distant or noncommittal lately? Pay attention and look for ways to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
5. Make yourself vulnerable
Communication is a two-way street. If you expect others to open up, you have to be willing to also become vulnerable. Your authenticity can help shape a business into a place that is honest, communicative, and supportive.
Be a green energy leader! Your personal commitment to caring communication and empathy can help drive your company to create positive changes. A compassionate workplace begins with one leader at a time.