It’s no secret the world – now more than ever – could use more compassion. And, in the spirit of National Compassionate Leadership Week this week, I’d like to pay homage to our staff at St. Joseph the Worker. I’m lucky to work for an organization filled with compassionate leaders.
To accomplish our mission, we as staff members need to be both compassionate and have leadership qualities. It doesn’t matter what the position is. Everyone plays a role in our mission. If you’re not familiar with our mission, it’s to connect the Valley’s disadvantaged, those experiencing homelessness, and transitioning individuals to quality jobs. We do this by providing support, resources, and tools necessary for becoming employable. Our hope is that by creating this connection, our clients will become independent and lead healthier lives that benefit their community and families.
This work is inherently compassionate, and it permeates all levels of our organization. Even our core values as an organization reflect the pillars of compassionate leadership:
- We believe there is DIGNITY in work.
- We maintain that employment is key to a healthy COMMUNITY.
- We express our LOVE through service.
- We exist to serve our CLIENTS —they are our “why.”
- We RESPECT each individual’s obstacles.
- RELATIONSHIPS are essential and we cannot do this alone.
- We restore HOPE through care, compassion, and purpose
You don’t have to formally be a member of an organization’s “leadership team” on the organizational chart to be a compassionate leader.
For example, when one of our Workforce Villages specialists works with their clients, they have to be a leader in their case management. They have to have conviction on what will work for the client. And, sometimes, this requires compromise. They have to be a collaborator, a good listener and a good problem solver. They have to interact with site management and landlords in terms of advocating for their clients. They are leaders who advocate for their clients. These are the attributes of a compassionate leader.
Beyond the work we do to serve our clients, we are also an organization that strives to be compassionate in the way we operate internally. As a second chance organization, we hire a diverse staff with a broad spectrum of life experiences. We try to be sensitive to different mindsets and viewpoints and communicate with our staff thoughtfully and with humility. Sometimes we stumble, but we always keep trying to improve.
St. Joseph the Worker strives to be a good community partner. We share a campus with more than a dozen other organizations. We share information, brainstorm, collaborate and find creative solutions for addressing homelessness. We seek to understand the opportunities and constraints of those organizations so we’re not operating in a silo. This, too, is all part of compassionate leadership.
One thing is for certain: Compassion is always in fashion at St. Joseph the Worker. Inside and out. Compassion is contagious. The more compassionate you are, the more compassionate all of us will be. That’s the end game.
In addition to his role as COO/Acting CEO at St. Joseph the Worker, Dean Scheinert is a member of the Phoenix Business and Workforce Development Board, and chairs the Governance Committee and sits on the Investment Committee for the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System – the second largest public pension plan in Arizona. He holds an MBA from The Wharton School.