Craft a More Compassionate Workplace

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The world as we experienced it before the COVID-19 pandemic is gone forever. There is no denying the suffering that the global community has experienced. As certain areas continue reopening, leaders of people returning to the workplace in a time of transition must remember that this collective trauma has impacted everyone in different ways, both visible and invisible. There may be anxiety, grief and fear that coexist with feelings of joy and gratitude for reconnection.

Spa directors and other leaders will need to manage the complexity of emotions that enter their wellness facilities. Tapping into resilience can help support and build stronger emotional intelligence for navigating in a post-pandemic environment when people’s defenses may still be on high alert from the trauma they endured.

Fortunately, resilience and emotional intelligence are trainable skills, and self-awareness is the key to unlocking them. Inspired by Daniel Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI) shares that learning self-awareness is all about “developing clarity within oneself, including high-resolution perception of our emotions.”

Once we develop clarity about our own emotional experience, we are better able to identify and empathize with others’ experiences. Leading with emotional intelligence skills is what inspires great leadership.

So, how do we develop greater self-awareness? Awareness is a skill that can be developed through mindfulness, the practice of observing one’s own thoughts, emotions and environment without identifying with what is seen. Simply put, we can see and understand our thoughts and emotions through an objective lens. Imagine your mind as an aquarium and you are the person standing on the outside looking in, seeing all the thoughts and emotions swimming around like colorful fish.

Understanding that our emotions activate our thoughts, we can then be more skilled in choosing our responses and avoid the pitfalls of reactionary behavior. This comes in handy fo leaders when communicating with staff, especially in more difficult conversations, as well as hiring and retention.

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Gerri Sapinoso Hudson ([email protected]) is an emotional intelligence leadership coach and founder of Vision Bridge Leadership (, which serves organizations with skill-building in emotional intelligence areas like mindfulness, self-awareness, self-management and relationship management through compassionate communication and influence. Sapinoso Hudson is a certified executive coach and certified teacher with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.

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