Frequently I am asked to talk about leadership, and frequently, as I first stand up and introduce the title of my presentation, I begin by challenging it. I say “Let’s take away the word leadership and replace it with the word relationship and see what happens”.

The big impact of applying the principles of compassionate leadership is to create what I call “Collective Brilliance”. Individually we can all be great; and we are. We are all extraordinary people in our own way. We all have unique abilities and attributes. I always say that “Everybody has a book inside them”.

Whilst at an exhibition of the photographs taken during Scotts’ fateful expedition to the South Pole, I bumped into and was inspired by an amazing lady in her 90’s. A daughter of the Raj, brought up in a colonial world, now bent and weathered, but with an incredible sparkle in her eye and an energy in her voice. Our world’s met as we both gazed, in awe, at an iconic photograph of Scott and his men in their hut. We spoke, we connected and found mutual inspiration within each other’s stories, energy and passion for life. We exchanged details and went our ways. It tells much of the discipline and social etiquette lost over the years, that I received a letter a few days later. This beautiful lady wrote to say “thank you” and she shared something truly special that I now carry with me always.

There is much evidence to suggest that sustainability is about balance, and that the three main systems within which we operate need to work together in a specific order. These systems are the Economy, Society and the Ecosystem.

It was the great and hugely humble Dalai Lama, the leader of the Tibetan people, that once described the difference between empathy and compassion. And he should know! He says “Empathy is to raise your consciousness of the other. Compassion is to work with that knowledge with positive intent”. In essence compassion is “empathy with positive action”. I like that. It sounds powerful and transformational. The application of compassion will transform teams, organisations, companies, communities and our society at large.

If you are reading this and you are over 35 years old, I may just be about to upset you. Research suggests that you will be spend 95% of your day being driven by your subconscious, following patterns of behaviour that are hard-wired into your more primitive brain areas based on your previous experience - your “back story”

It is all about gaining commitment. It has to be. Who wants to work with a compliant team, a reluctant team? Who wants to work with the mindset of compliance when we have the opportunity to create the excitement of commitment? The principles of compassionate leadership are those that create long-term commitment and completely remove the emotional drag of compliance.

We are defined within four realms, each providing opportunity for growth, that when all are well and balanced gives us a deep sense of self-worth and well-being. We can only truly shine with the conscious development of all four quadrants though some offer greater scope for development than others.