Angel Cabrera, president of George Mason University, believes that employees who think business is nothing more than making money are short-changing their corporations.
In a recent panel discussion reported by Monica Tanase-Coles on Forbes.com, Cabrera says: “At its very heart, a business is the beauty of bringing together people and things to make the community better off – these are the businesses we admire. Empathy is the one tool that makes it all happen.”
A growing number of companies are agreeing. The number of firms offering cognitively based compassion training through e-learning courses is growing.
A new study titled Beyond Performance by Scott Keller and Colin Price shows growing evidence that compassionate leaders outperform their peers and more than 600 companies that focused on organizational health as well as profits actually registered two times higher financial performance.
Academic organizations such as Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research (CCARE) are studying the benefits of compassion training courses and have become convinced of their worth.
If you want to deliver compassion-based training to your employees through an e-learning program, what are some of the components that should be included?
These are some of the key elements to look for:
- Cultivation of mental stability and calm through mindfulness, that is, being present in the moment
- Compassion for friends, family and self
- Compassion for strangers, disliked people and difficult clients
- Some aspect of lojong, a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism that refers to the practice of training the mind in compassion until altruism becomes automatic or spontaneous.
- Practices that illustrate to employees what compassion is and what blocks it as an acceptable behavior in the workplace
- Methods of developing attitudes of empathy and gratitude for other team members, even those who at first appear difficult to work with
- Steps towards creating more connection and compassion with co-workers and clients
Lojong is centered on the philosophy that selfish and “what’s in it for me” thinking ultimately causes suffering to oneself and others. Compassionate thinking and consideration for others, on the other hand, benefits both oneself and others.
Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal, a pioneer in compassion training research, has looked at many scientific studies into behavior and concluded that our “what’s in it for me” business attitude is distorted behavior and goes against who we really are as human beings.
Instead, he suggests, the roots of compassion run deep in our evolutionary history.
He and a growing number of behavioral scientists argue that essentially we are wired for connectivity and to care about others is as much a part of our motivation as to care about ourselves.
Empathy is a key characteristic of the entrepreneurial personality and a crucial character trait of many of today’s most creative employees. By providing compassion training through e-learning modules, your company can encourage creative approaches and respectful, impressive teams.