Episode 82: High Performance In Tough Times

How do you keep teams happy, motivated and performing well – especially in tough times? Compassionate leadership is a key for unlocking high-performing teams even when facing most difficult environments. It requires that we first understand ourselves, then others’ needs, and finally act with positive intent to secure the best for all. This episode explores how we can practice compassionate leadership.

Manley Hopkinson is an expert on this topic. Schooled in leadership from experiences as diverse as being an officer in the Royal Navy and Royal Hong Kong Police, to being a skipper in the BT Global Challenge round the world yacht race and winning the first skiing race to the Magnetic North Pole, Manley brings the lessons he’s learned on ice and at sea to the leaders at clients including Google, Amazon, Citibank, KPMG and McKinsey. His latest book is titled Compassionate Leadership: How to create and maintain engaged, committed and high-performing teams.

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Episode Highlights


Why leadership is really about relating


What helps us build self-awareness


The importance of compassion for leading self and others well


Don't confuse compassion with mindfulness or empathy


How compassion helps us get the best performance from others


How to put compassion into practice when working remotely


How to lead and cope with work pressures


Knowing when and why to delegate key decisions


How can considering our own legacy helps us leading better today

Manley’s view on the greatest unmet wellbeing need at work today

"I think it's relationship. I know there's a lot of effort on on wellbeing, and rightly so which is important. But, I think sometimes we're focusing on on the symptom as opposed to the cause. I see people putting in meditation pods, having yoga sessions at work, running mindfulness sessions, and yes, fine, it's great.

But I think the toughest thing, the hardest thing is, is the separation, I really do think it's the relationships [because] we're we're working more remotely, that's not going to change for quite some time...So we've got to spend time on recognizing how powerful relationships are."

What “working with humans” means to Manley

“We're all humans, which is jolly annoying, because that means we've got emotional needs, and we were fallible, we're amazingly beautiful and resourceful, too. You just look at the things that humans have achieved in a positive sense. We've also screwed up quite badly, I believe environmentally and a few other bits and pieces. And I also think our society generally at the moment isn't in a great place because we've lacked that humanity.

And I think if we tap into the humanity that need emotional understanding that I think that's what it's really all about. So working with humans is gorgeous. And I hate the expression human resources because I'm not a resource. I'm a human.

So, connect with me at a human level. If we start doing that, then I think we move into a fundamentally different, more positive and more enjoyable and by definition, more compassionate space, too.”


Follow: Manley on LinkedIn
Visit: the Manley Talks website
Read: Compassionate Leadership: How to create and maintain engaged, committed and high-performing teams

Michael Glazer is the creator and host of Humans At Work. His purpose in life is to make well-being at work a globally-accepted, basic human right. Learn more about Michael here.