Compassionate Leadership: How to Do Hard Things in a Human Way

Compassionate Leadership: How to Do Hard Things in a Human Way Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

4.7 out of 5 stars 72 ratings

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Product details

Listening Length 6 hours and 59 minutes
Author Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter, Marissa Afton, Moses Mohan
Narrator Jean Ann Douglass Release Date February 28 2022
Publisher Ascent Audio
Program Type Audiobook
Version Unabridged
Language English
Best Sellers Rank #41,751 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#1,665 in Management & Leadership (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,444 in Leadership
#2,639 in Business Leadership (Books)

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
72 global ratings

Top review from Canada

Reviewed in Canada on February 16, 2022
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Top reviews from other countries

Clemens Küfner
2.0 out of 5 stars Not helpful - too many measures and questionable data base
Reviewed in Germany on June 20, 2022
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not helpful - too many measures and questionable data base
Reviewed in Germany on June 20, 2022
Compassionate Leadership is good to read, but it does not earn more than two stars. The basic idea – do though things in a human way – is very convincing. So, too, are some ideas promoted by the authors. But the book proposes to many ideas to give more than a quick overview: 10 mantras or principles each containing several strategies. Much of it remains superficial. (E.g., Viktor Frankl in a few sentences. Wow!) The book is strong (and good) in arguing for openness, but very weak on trust and psychological safety. The highly promoted data base for the analysis is completely questionable. The huge number of proposed measures is neither prioritized nor tested. It is not very helpful.

The book Compassionate Leadership is centred around the fact, that leaders have to make and implement decisions that imply a negative effect on the people for whom they are responsible. They have to do hard things. The ways to do so are clustered in Ineffective Indifference, Caring Avoidance, Uncaring Execution and Wise Compassion (see The Wise Compassion Matrix). This clustering together with the empathic hijack (see The spark of empathy) are the two highlights of the book.

What Wise Compassion is, shall be described in 10 principles or mantras:
• Unlearn Management, Relearn Being Human
• Great Power Comes with Great Responsibility
• Connect with Empathy, Lead with Compassion
• Your Oxygen Mask First
• Busyness Kills Your Heart
• Be Here Now
• Courage over Comfort
• Direct Is Faster
• Clarity Is Kindness
• The Only Way Out Is Through
The description of the over 50 measures and strategies behind these 10 points is absolutely high level. That is simply too much for roughly 200 pages text. The authors present each measure or strategy as equally important. Prioritizing is left to the reader. Worse is, that these proposals are untested. If, under what circumstances and to what degree they help is again left to the reader.

The second weak point is the data base of the analysis: Compassionate Leadership belongs in the category Consultant Literature: A consultant or in this case two consultants share their insights with everyone who is not able to recruit them as consultants. Just as in the books of the most famous representative of this species Jim Collins a huge data base is claimed to be the foundation for the analysis. The authors make clear that their intention to justify human behaviour in critical situations requires a particularly solid ground in data. I agree with the reasoning but have to question the execution. The data base for the analysis is twofold: The first basis consists in 350 qualitive interviews with CEOs and CHROs. The second basis are the answers to 15.000 leaders and 50.000 employees in the two proprietary tools of the consulting company. Sounds impressive? But it is not: The quality of the 350 interviews cannot be judged by the reader. If better they were presumably semi-structured, but this is unclear because more detail on the method and the questionnaire is not published in the book. This is particularly difficult, since it is nowhere to be seen, how or if these answers are shielded against hindsight bias. A huge number is no replacement for quality. These interviews are no proof for the points made in the book, although the authors want to convince the reader that the opposite is true. Similarly questionable is the data from managers and employees. It is done by proprietary tools of the consulting company and can neither be judged by the reader nor be retested somewhere else. Again, it is impossible to judge whether the questions are shielded against biases. A problem? Indeed, a huge one. For one chapter the authors rely on a self-evaluation of managers concerning wisdom. It would be crucial to show that the managers are not overrating themselves. Not surprisingly the authors simply avoid the question. Again, that means the data may not be taken at face value. The reasoning behind this is bad marketing and should be seen as such. (For a detailed analysis on the data base Phil Rosenzweig`s The Halo Effect is highly recommendable.)

Another weak point is that the concepts of “caring” and “psychological safety” are far less clear than “openness”. Were as “openness” is exemplified down to outright quotes, caring in particular remains vague. Particularly the question of what happens, if “caring” and “the greater good” seem to be or are in conflict, remains again to be decided by the reader without a good suggestion from the authors.
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Ashwinikumar Patil
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Hard Conversations
Reviewed in India on March 6, 2022
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One person found this helpful
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Sundeep Singh Chauhan
4.0 out of 5 stars Being Compassionate it the key to be Humane
Reviewed in India on March 10, 2022
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Marco Bombardi
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Reviewed in Spain on February 14, 2022
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Rachel Z
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intentions but limited worldview
Reviewed in the United States on March 25, 2022
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6 people found this helpful
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