The theme of our rounds today is compassionate leadership. You may ask, “Why compassionate leadership?” We now have randomized clinical trials that document the benefits of compassion training for individuals, but we struggle to develop and sustain compassionate organizations. As you’ll hear today, leadership is crucial for compassionate organizations.
In my conversations with global health leaders over the last several years, they’ve described three challenges to compassion in their work. The first is compassion at a distance. In global health, we often work at great distances from the people whose health we are working to improve. We see the numbers and the populations rather than the individuals and faces. Second, there is a barrier of what I call “compulsion to save the world” and an over-identification with work. There is a preoccupation with metrics, measures, and outcomes to the neglect of relationships, process, and compassion.
And third there’s a “conspiracy of silence.” So many people in global health are motivated by a sense of compassion. But for some reason we don’t feel comfortable sharing this with each other, so the power of this collective energy of shared motivation is hidden. One objective of these global health compassion rounds, is to break this “conspiracy of silence.”…Readmore