In our Essential Leadership Guide we detailed why building compassion is vital in leadership and how you can become a more compassionate leader. If you have not read our guide yet, you can do so here.
One of the best ways you can build compassion is through self-learning and reflection. Here is our list for the top 5 leadership books to help you master developing compassion to thrive as a leader during unprecedented times.
#1 The Human Moment: The Positive Power of Compassion in the Workplace
By Amy Bradley
“Organizations are becoming increasingly dehumanized. The move toward an AI-driven world of work means intense competition for a finite number of ‘human’ resources where the pressure to perform can incite an “I’m fine” response when a colleague enquires into our wellbeing. Opportunities to connect authentically with or care for one other at a basic human level are diminishing, and we only know our colleagues superficially.
This book argues that human connections are formed by showing vulnerability and sharing stories of suffering. Creating a culture of workplace compassion is an organizational imperative in the 21st century where suffering is hidden, stress-related absence is growing and career burnout is a recognized phenomenon. The Human Moment suggests that, by encouraging cultures of compassion, organizations can help to build healtheir workplace environments.”
#2 Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power That Elevates People and Organizations
By Monica C Worline
“Caring Is a Competitive Advantage. Suffering in the workplace can rob our colleagues and coworkers of humanity, dignity, and motivation and is an unrecognized and costly drain on organizational potential. Marshaling evidence from two decades of field research, scholars and consultants Monica Worline and Jane Dutton show that alleviating such suffering confers measurable competitive advantages in areas like innovation, collaboration, service quality, and talent attraction and retention. They outline four steps for meeting suffering with compassion and show how to build a capacity for compassion into the structures and practices of an organization–because ultimately, as they write, “Compassion is an irreplaceable dimension of excellence for any organization that wants to make the most of its human capabilities.”
#3 Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference
by Stephen Trzeciak, Anthony Mazzarelli
“In Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference, physician scientists Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli uncover the eye-opening data that compassion could be a wonder drug for the 21st century.
Now, for the first time ever, a rigorous review of the science – coupled with captivating stories from the front lines of medicine – demonstrates that human connection in health care matters in astonishing ways. Never before has all the evidence been synthesized together in one place.”
#4 Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons from Google, Search Inside Yourself, and a Zen Monastery Kitchen
By Marc Lesser
“Marc Lesser has been a dishwasher and a baker, a start-up entrepreneur, and a CEO. He spent a decade living at a Zen center and then running one. The through line in all these incarnations is the idea that core ideas can help anyone, in any walk of life, thrive. Lesser found himself a leader in any situation he was involved in. He sought a way to concretize his learning by earning an MBA at NYU and was off and running. In clear, inspiring language he shows how to apply principles such as Interrogate Reality, Don’t be an Expert, Connect to Your Pain, and Respond Appropriately in everyday business and personal interactions. He shows how “everything we do and don’t do, everything we say and don’t say, has influence on those around us.” For Lesser, mindful leadership, mindful work, and mindful living are one and the same. The practices outlined here make that kind of synergy not just a goal but an achievable reality.”
#5 Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN
By Tara Bach
“Tara Brach is an in-the-trenches teacher whose work counters today’s ever-increasing onslaught of news, conflict, demands, and anxieties–stresses that leave us rushing around on auto-pilot and cut off from the presence and creativity that give our lives meaning.
In this heartfelt and deeply practical book, she offers an antidote: an easy-to-learn four-step meditation that quickly loosens the grip of difficult emotions and limiting beliefs. Each step in the meditation practice (Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture) is brought to life by memorable stories shared by Tara and her students as they deal with feelings of overwhelm, loss, and self-aversion, with painful relationships, and past trauma–and as they discover step-by-step the sources of love, forgiveness, compassion, and deep wisdom alive within all of us.”