Three Essential Compassion Skills for Leaders

Posted on May 30, 2016 by Nate Regier / 0 comments
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If you’ve been reading my blog, you know my enthusiasm for the concept of Compassionate Accountability®. It all starts with the recognition that Drama at work or at home is an energy vampire and that simply avoiding it isn’t the mark of a great leader.

Compassion is the antidote and the core competency to lead out of drama, and means a whole lot more than having empathy and being nice.

The Compassion Trio

At Next Element we believe there are three essential compassion skill sets, each with three supporting strategies, all working together in specific ways to enhance compassionate accountability. Dr. Stephen Karpman’s website first suggested the concept of a Compassion Triangle including three qualities; Vulnerability, Resourcefulness, and Persistence. We loved the concept because it offered the alternative to the Drama Triangle (read about it in other posts). And we weren’t comfortable with the term “vulnerable.” We understand the deeper meaning and positive intent of the word,  but felt that in today’s culture it had more negative connotations that could get in the way with our clients. With the help of Taibi Kahler, the mastermind behind the Process Communication Model (PCM), we chose the word Openness to replace Vulnerability. Openness captures the essence and intent of this skill set and is more palatable for today’s leaders.

Here are the three skill sets and nine strategies.

OpennessCompassion Cycle

Empathize (show care)
Validate (affirm feelings)
Disclose (share your truth)


Highlight effort (affirm intentions)
Gather information (be receptive)
Build on strengths (leverage success)


Apologize (take responsibility)
Reinforce boundaries (hold firm to your non-negotiables)
Follow through (hold self and others accountable)

Tune in to future posts where I’ll explore each of these in depth with examples and applications to training, leadership, and transformative communication.

Meanwhile, if you are curious to explore your drama tendencies and compassion potentials, take our online Drama Resilience Assessment (DRA) and get your own profile report with “Conflict and You” workbook. Use this as an introductory drama-resilience training for yourself and your staff.



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