Listening is the core of compassion

By: Carl Dierschow Thursday April 27, 2017 0 comments Tags: Carl Dierschow

By Carl Dierschow

Small Fish Business Coaching

Business can be brutal sometimes.

And when you feel that stress, you tend to pass it on to your people. In the form of pressured deadlines, brutal feedback, and snippy interactions.Carl_Dierschow_USE_1

Your employees can put up with the normal pressures of their work, but it’s this stress that drives them away. The message is that you don’t care, and everyone’s life would be easier if they weren’t around. So they leave – maybe not today, but eventually.

Your job as a leader is to build some caring into your organization. I’m not saying that you have to get all touchy-feely and have an environment that’s soft and fluffy.

I would consider the U.S. Marines to be a compassionate organization. Yes, the results they deliver are world-class and hard as nails. But each person never doubts that the others are there to protect them, especially when the going gets tough. Leaders truly care about each person on their team.

In the normal workplace, compassion starts with honest listening. When you understand where each person is coming from and what they’re concerned about, your normal human instincts will kick in and set you in the right direction.

Here’s a simple example: A worker tells you that she needs to stay home with a sick child. All of a sudden, she’s created a problem for you, perhaps even a big one. Your gut reaction might be to want her to just suck it up and take the job seriously.

But if you listen to her, openly, you’ll hear the concern she has for someone who’s dependent on her. You’ll hear that her priorities place health and family at the top. It’s not that she doesn’t care about her job, just that it’s not always top priority.

We’ve now turned on your empathy. And compassion.

So yes, this may be tremendously inconvenient. But, honestly, it’s YOUR job as the leader to help navigate these kinds of challenges. So don’t put it all on the poor employee who’s just doing her best.

This is what will create the compassionate workplace, one where people want to stay around and support YOU and your larger goals.


I’ve developed an online assessment tool that can help you understand how well you’re engaging your employees in the important work of your business. It’s a great investment of 15 minutes and I’ll give you some ideas and feedback specific to your situation.

Carl Dierschow

About the Author: Carl Dierschow


Carl Dierschow is a professional business coach in Northern Colorado. He’s the U.S. associate for Small Fish Business Coaching, headquartered in Australia. He works with owners of small and medium-size businesses to radically improve their success through strengthening market position, improving customer attraction and loyalty, building more powerful organizations, etc. Carl brings more than 15 years of business coaching expertise to helping businesses solve their critical issues and achieve their goals. His best tools are straightforward yet powerful, transparent, and biased toward action. Visit his website at