• Amy Clark

Compassionate and Assertive

One of the challenges of leadership is being able to hold the vision, have unwavering standards, and to model integrity consistently. As Robert E. Quinn outlines in his book, Building the Bridge as You Walk on It: A Guide for Leading Change, the above descriptors capture part of the practice of tough love. Leading with a higher purpose doesn’t mean being submissive or avoiding the hard issues, it means knowing where you are going, and demonstrating through your own behaviors and actions the change you want to see in your organization.

It’s about the people

The more you live into your purpose, the more you can see those on your team that can work towards the roles and standards you and your stakeholders have established. Compassion is seeing those that aren’t going to be able to grow into those roles and helping them find a place where they do fit so they are able to thrive and awaken their individual gifts. Assertive is making those hard decisions, and realizing, as Quinn states, “a caring individual relationship does not supersede the collective good".

The mindset makes all the difference

Quinn describes tough love in a positive frame when he says “When others practice tough love toward me, they support me, and I can feel their genuine love and concern. Yet they do not baby me. They want to call forth my greatness”. Frank conversations can be rooted in love and framed in a mindset of growth. Being intentional to plan an approach suited for the relationship and the individual’s personality style, exhibits compassion, value and understanding of the team member.

It starts with you

Leadership brings with it a higher calling of commitment, awareness, and the ability to balance self before helping others. Time spent in self-awareness, self-care, and focusing on your higher purpose will serve you well when navigating the compassionate and assertive roles you must balance when you have influence over others. Hard conversations can become bridges to deeper connection.

Take on your day and Awaken your Potential to be a compassionate and assertive leader!


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