Dr. Andrea Hollingsworth
Hollingsworth Consulting

Compassion means feeling with another’s stress/struggle (or empathizing), and then actively responding in ways that alleviate distress. Leadership means taking responsibility for seeing and developing the potential in people – investing in the promise of their greater happiness and success.

Putting those together, compassionate leadership means:

  1. Seeing the potential in stressed/struggling people (which is everyone, to some degree!), and
  2. Choosing to actively invest in their healing, growth, and happiness.

​There are four essential elements to compassionate leadership. My program provides crucial knowledge and powerful tools for developing each one.

Element #1: Self-Compassion

Self-compassion has been described by leading researcher Kristin Neff as “loving, connected presence” to one’s own self. Leaders are more effective when they learn to quiet the voice of their inner critic and instead become their own ally. This makes them more resilient, and better able to support others. Research also shows that self-compassion is linked to high levels of self-initiative, self-confidence, and overall achievement.

Element #2: Awareness

One of the greatest gifts humans can give one another is attention. Most people who are suffering feel a deep need to be simply witnessed in the midst of their distress. To know that someone noticed, someone realized. And so, as a leader, training yourself to slow down and become more aware of others is key.

Element #3: Empathy

Empathy means sharing to some degree in what someone else is going through. It means relating to them, feeling with them. The human brain is built to empathize: at a neurological level, other peoples’ experiences can become our own when we feel our way into their situation and tune into their emotions. Others can sense empathy at that level. They know when their leaders “get it,” when they can relate. And it makes them feel seen, safe, connected, and supported.

Element #4: Action

Compassion is empathy plus action. In other words, we connect with others while doing things–sometimes hard things–to bring resolution, relief, or remediation to a painful problem. As Hougard and Carter put it: “Compassion, at its root, is a desire to see others happy and a readiness to take action to see it happen.”

About Andrea

Dr. Andrea Hollingsworth is a speaker, researcher, and seasoned psychotherapist who has spent decades studying the transformative power of compassionate leadership.

One of today’s leading global experts on compassion, she has written and spoken extensively on the subject since 2008. Her articles on the science and spirituality of human relationships have been published more than a dozen times in peer-reviewed journals. She has taught at prestigious institutions like Princeton, Boston University, and Loyola University Chicago, and delivered talks to audiences at some of the top-ranked universities in the world—including Cambridge University in England and Heidelberg University in Germany.

Andrea spends most of her time helping leaders and teams use The Compassion Advantage to build supercharged organizations through cultures of care—especially in times of challenge and change.

She lives in Maple Grove, Minnesota, with her family where she adores good books, conversations, and coffee.