“If you are able to identify the humanity of the patient as well as provide them with technical competence it’s such a win-win situation. It’s so rewarding for the patient to be treated sensitively and technically competently. And for the healthcare professional to feel that they have touched that patient in a way that has technically helped them, but also regarded and understood them as an individual.” These are the words of the late Professor Kieran Sweeney who sadly died in 2009.

There has been much in the press recently about systemic failures in the health service to treat people in a consistently caring way – with implications from unnecessary upset to avoidable death. There are many reasons for this, and many are concerned and want to do something about it.

Compassion clearly has a part to play in leadership thought and action to create a consistent caring culture.

At the Fourth Annual Conference – Dementia Care in Hospital at Taunton on 8th March 2013 Alister Scott of the One Leadership Project and Andy Bradley from our Partners Frameworks for Change (F4C) shared experiences and facilitated conversations to bring this to life for the attendees. It raised issues of moving from compliance to compassion, and from fear to trust. Says Alister “It’s about helping people rise above the big demands upon them as managers, and seeing themselves as leaders, able and inspired to connect big ideas about compassion with practical habits and approaches that can make a difference immediately”.

We and F4C have a shared vision for compassion being a key leadership quality for the health profession, and indeed all professions. If the work involves people, compassion has a part to play.

Our partnership is based on deep, mutual understanding and passion. Andy Bradley, co-founder of F4C has been involved in caring environments all his life, having been raised in a home for dementia patients run by his parents. F4C have a long history of leading for compassion in the care sector. They are receiving increasing national and international recognition for their thought leadership and practical actions, training and supporting front line staff.

Here at The One Leadership Project, our work in leadership is always based on human, mindful approaches to change, such as our Gentle Catalyst research.

Together our two organisations are bringing the Compassionate Leadership support and trainings to provoke and inspire organisations who want to do more than talk about this.

As Andy says “Leaders must stand for compassion.” And that while the impact of some habits can be immediate, there has to be a deeper commitment; “Compassion persists only with leadership that’s thinking and acting for the long term, so that when the leader moves on the culture of compassion remains.”

By Neil Scotton and Alister Scott from the One Leadership Project, March 11th 2013