Compassion fatigue and the Hero Leader

Many leaders and middle managers feel the strain between wanting to do the right thing and not having the control to do so, caught between their own sense of values and the limitations of their employment.

Dr. Shaun Wehle, a psychologist and principal consultant at Talogy, believes this is a natural response. After all, we all want to be the best at what we do, but when we run out of the tools to make a difference, and things are out of our control, we experience ‘compassion fatigue’ which can make us more stressed and less resilient.

Dr Wehle says: “A colleague is long-term sick, there is a hiring freeze when staff are feeling overwhelmed, a co-worker is struggling with work-life balance. All of these circumstances can be outside of our control and the Hero Leader feels unable to have an influence.”

So how can organisations help the Hero Leader with Compassion Fatigue? Dr Wehle provides five top tips including self-care, coaching, and enabling a greater sense of meaning and purpose.

Dr Wehle says: “One way that organisations can help individual leaders to make a difference is by aligning their values to personal causes, it reinforces the message ‘you support this, we support this.’ It’s a powerful way to engage with what is important to staff, gain trust and build employee loyalty.”

In a world where people are looking for greater meaning and purpose, collectively we can all become heroes.