Leading with Compassion//photo courtesy of Flickr

By: Leshay Jones, Editor-in-Chief

Believe it or not, it is not easy to be a leader, especially in a world filled with followers. None of  us want to work for somebody, but the cold, hard truth is that about nine out of ten of us will.

It is not because one lacks the potential; it’s not because one is not good enough. It is more so because people choose to settle in life.

About 70 percent of people in the United States hate their jobs, and I can’t help but wonder why. Is it the pay? Is it the workload? Is it the conditions? Or is it the leadership?

What if it is the leadership of these companies that is causing the employees to want to rip the hair out of their heads every ten minutes?

I think it is safe to say that many people have dealt with the type of person that will not change their mind no matter what, whether it be a boss, professor, friend or family member.

They are the type of person with no compassion or empathy, no matter what life throws your way.

Think about it this way: you have a final paper that is 30 percent of your grade due at midnight on the dot, no exceptions. However, your mom goes into labor at 11:45 and you miss your deadline.

The next day you meet up with your professor — because they don’t have an office because they are an adjunct —  to explain your situation but they are not budging as it was clearly stated that no late assignments would be accepted. Due to something that was totally out of your hands, you end up with a D in the course.

Another scenario: you have a mandatory staff meeting on the same same day as your daughter’s high school graduation and your boss tells you that if you miss the meeting, you will be penalized.

Now, rules are set into place for a reason, to keep things in order. However, one thing that I’ve learned about life is that it doesn’t care about the rules and basically moves on its own accord without any regard for anyone or anything. A compassionate leader understands that.

A lot of the time, society views compassion as weakness when the fact of the matter is, being compassionate makes you a strong and effective leader.

Sometimes, once people find out about your kindness, they take it for granted and try to use it for their benefit. I have had this happen to me plenty of times. People will try to use you and walk all over you. This is why compassion can be considered weak.

However, there is a difference between compassion and poor leadership.

I am not telling you to let your students hand in papers late all the time, nor am I telling you to let your employee miss a meeting because of a bad hangover. What I am saying is to be aware of a situation where empathy is needed.

Human beings, just like most of the species on this planet, need leadership. Without it, everything would be absolute chaos. I know that there is no such thing as a perfect leader, seeing as none of are perfect (although some think that they are).

I also know that not everything goes as plan in this messed up thing that we call life. It is important for our leaders to know this because they are building our future leaders.

In all honesty, the U.S. does not have the most compassionate leaders and that is why our country is the way that is today with all of the hatred and inequality.

It is up to the future leaders, us Bergen Community College students, to help shape the world into the place that we want it to be. And it all starts with leading with compassion.