How can compassionate collaboration lead to higher productivity and more effective results? The answer is housed in the words "compassion" and "collaboration."

The defines compassion as: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. Strictly speaking, this kind of event, although not impossible, is rare in a workplace setting. But this does not make the idea and practice of compassion any less valuable.

So how can one BE compassionate in the workplace? It’s a matter of understanding the elements and characteristics of compassion and practicing them.

To be compassionate it is critical to start with the principle that the other is not you. As simplistic as this may sound, there are any number of psychological mindsets, narcissism being the most obvious, that stand in the way of experiencing the other as an other. If you cannot extend your imagination beyond your own perspective, perhaps a perspective that has brought you success and status, you are not seeing, hearing, feeling the other person. You are trapped inside your own process and point of insistence.

You have to be able to share in the interiority of the other person. Why? Because you’ve been there. In the workplace much of what arises for which compassion is appropriate you’ve no doubt experienced. The details may differ but the point here is that emotionally you can relate.

Assuming the other person is not openly malicious or destructive you can operate from the point of view that they are legitimately doing the best they know how. Your objective becomes curiosity and discovery. How is it that the other person has ended up in front of you with the conclusion they have reached and the behaviors that evidence their mindset?

This way you prevent wiping them out by bulldozing them with your power or position or rendering them invisible in favor of your own frame of reference. In other words, you are being compassionate in your search for the truth of what’s going on.

But what about collaboration, how does it fit here?

Collaboration is the mind half of compassionate collaboration as you engage your intellect to work with the other person toward improving performance and achieving the objective outcome you both desire. You have to take the lead in bringing alignment to the two of you as equals moving toward co-creating an effective and integrated workplace success.

Collaboration requires a higher order purpose and intention, perhaps the vision and/or mission of your company, your organization with the company, or the team. The higher order objective serves as the governor or arbiter measuring the value of what you both want to achieve together – for each of you as individuals with singular wants and needs and both of you as members of the company with corporate goals and milestones.

In the workplace both compassion and collaboration have their dark sides. Compassion (feeling) without collaboration (intellect) can become self-indulgent and excessively subjective, whereas collaboration without compassion can become robotic and excessively objective.

But in the workplace things must get done. That is the engine of business and cannot be overlooked. But the people who are to do the doing cannot be overlooked either. Without them, nothing happens.

Compassionate Collaboration is full-hearted with the sympathy of understood feelings as its life blood, as well as clear-headed with the rapport of mutual trust and respect as the architecture of a successful process.

Compassionate collaboration is a balanced and effective approach producing powerful and timely results for the company by people who feel seen heard and appreciated for who they are.

Author's Bio: 

Judith Sherven, PhD and her husband Jim Sniechowski, PhD have developed a penetrating perspective on people’s resistance to success, which they call The Fear of Being Fabuloustm. Recognizing the power of unconscious programming to always outweigh conscious desires, they assert that no one is ever failing—they are always succeeding. The question is, at what? To learn about how this played out in the life of Whitney Houston, check out

Currently working as consultants on retainer to LinkedIn providing executive coaching, leadership training and consulting as well as working with private clients around the world, they continually prove that when unconscious beliefs are brought to the surface, the barriers to greater success and leadership presence begin to fade away. They call it Overcoming the Fear of Being Fabulous