Awakening Compassion at Work Book Summary - Awakening Compassion at Work Book explained in key points
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Awakening Compassion at Work summary

Monica C. Worline and Jane E. Dutton

The Quiet Power That Elevates People and Organizations

4.3 (31 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

"Awakening Compassion at Work" by Monica C. Worline and Jane E. Dutton offers insight on how leaders can create compassionate workplaces, with examples of companies who have done so and the positive outcomes of doing so. It emphasizes the importance of mindfulness and empathy in the workplace.

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    Awakening Compassion at Work
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    Work can be tough to endure, but companies needn’t make their employees suffer.

    If you’re one of the many people who leave home to go to work each day, you know that, more often than not, putting up with nonsense and stress is just part of the job. Suffering through stress is such a common issue at work, it’s easy to forget that it’s a real problem.

    It’s sad, but work can cause people to suffer unnecessarily.

    Patty offers just such an example. The authors met her while they were conducting research on the role of compassion in the workplace.

    Patty was an executive assistant who worked for several managers within a company. She loved her work and was particularly good at developing strong connections with her managers. She simply understood them and knew how to anticipate their needs.

    Then, the company decided to restructure, and a series of key tasks were randomly distributed among the company’s various executive assistants. Patty got the message about the change late on a Friday evening, and on Monday morning she had already been relocated to a remote building.

    Patty quickly found herself isolated and dispirited. To top it off, her prime skill of relationship building with the managers couldn’t be exercised anymore.

    This just goes to show that some management styles will cause unnecessary suffering when the impact on the employees isn’t taken into consideration.

    But some companies can and do minimize employees’ suffering – the answer lies in compassionate leadership.

    During their research, the authors met a company leader called Andy. One day, during a meeting, he’d noticed that one of his best employees, Xian, was looking particularly despondent. So he asked Xian what was up.

    Xian explained that his sister had died in an accident in China. But even though he was grieving, Xian had decided to still come to work.

    In his position as a leader, Andy had to decide how to respect Xian’s personal life within a professional setting. He opted for compassion. Xian was told he could take whatever time off he needed and would be encouraged to speak with Andy any time he felt it was necessary. Andy even invited Xian to spend time at his home and meet his family.

    This compassionate approach worked, and Xian was able to manage his grief successfully.

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    What is Awakening Compassion at Work about?

    Awakening Compassion at Work (2017) considers the role of compassion in the workplace. It demonstrates the methods individuals and organizations can use to develop a culture of empathy and compassion, and shows how individuals and companies alike can benefit from such an approach.

    Awakening Compassion at Work Review

    Awakening Compassion at Work (2017) explores the power of compassion to transform workplaces. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a fascinating exploration of how compassion can positively impact work environments, creating more engaged and fulfilled employees.
    • With compelling research and case studies, the book illustrates the practical applications of compassion, offering actionable strategies for implementation.
    • By encouraging leaders and employees to cultivate compassion, it promotes a more humane and inclusive workplace culture, leading to improved teamwork and productivity.

    Best quote from Awakening Compassion at Work

    Aravind is an unconventional model that came into being not despite but because of the deep-seated compassion at its core.

    —Monica C. Worline and Jane E. Dutton
    example alt text

    Who should read Awakening Compassion at Work?

    • Managers and leaders
    • Business psychologists
    • Overworked employees looking for a new company

    About the Author

    Monica C. Worline is a research scientist at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. She specializes in the psychology of compassion and altruism. She is also the CEO of EnlivenWork, a company that coaches businesses in the development of compassionate leadership.

    Jane E. Dutton is a University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. She is a cofounder of the Ross School’s Center for Positive Organizations.

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    Awakening Compassion at Work FAQs 

    What is the main message of Awakening Compassion at Work?

    The main message of Awakening Compassion at Work is the power of compassion in the workplace to improve employee well-being and organizational outcomes.

    How long does it take to read Awakening Compassion at Work?

    The reading time for Awakening Compassion at Work varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Awakening Compassion at Work a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Awakening Compassion at Work is a worthwhile read as it provides valuable insights and practical strategies for fostering compassion in the workplace.

    Who is the author of Awakening Compassion at Work?

    The authors of Awakening Compassion at Work are Monica C. Worline and Jane E. Dutton.

    What to read after Awakening Compassion at Work?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Awakening Compassion at Work, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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