page title icon Compassionate Leadership: How To Lead With Compassion

Compassionate leadership is the art of leading people by building relationships with them and understanding their personal needs, strengths and limitations.

Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to achieve a common goal. Compassionate leadership is the type of leadership that takes into account the feelings and emotions of others. It is based on the idea that if we can understand and feel what others are feeling, then we can better lead them.

Compassion is a feeling of love or sympathy for others. We can show compassion towards others by doing things like being understanding and nonjudgmental, listening attentively, providing emotional support, and offering practical help.

Compassion is a vital ingredient for strong leadership, and it should be at the forefront of our minds whenever we make decisions that affect other people. The best leaders make everyone around them better — they help individuals reach their full potential, and they create an environment where innovation and creativity thrive.

Compassionate leadership has the potential to create a ripple effect on not only the local community but also on the world at large. When leaders take care of themselves, individuals, teams and organizations thrive. This type of environment creates less tension and more safety, support and challenges which can be stimulating to all parties involved.

Compassionate leadership is important because it creates a more positive and productive work environment. When employees feel that their leaders care about them and their well-being, they are more likely to be productive and feel appreciated. Compassionate leaders are also more likely to be successful because they have a team that is willing to go the extra mile for them.

In this episode, Donato J. Tramuto shares more about compassionate leadership and how you can lead with compassion.

Donato J. Tramuto was born and raised in Dunkirk, New York, with a twin brother, three older brothers, an older sister, and a younger brother. His older brother lost his life tragically in a car accident at the age of 23, and his younger brother died at birth. He was raised in a very close family and was raised catholic with strong ties to his Italian heritage. Four years after his older brother died, his sister-in-law lost her life tragically in childbirth.

The loss of his hearing at age 8 brought forth ten years of limited hearing and a severe speech impediment. That, coupled with the death of his sister-in-law due to a medication error during childbirth, motivated him to pursue a professional career in healthcare as a gateway to help fix the fragmented healthcare system. His parents taught him the value of working hard, and regardless of what you have acquired in life, one must give back a philosophy that has stayed with him throughout his personal and professional life. Additionally, despite all of the pain and suffering his parents experienced in the loss of children, they were always optimistic and compassionate toward others, which is a trait he also inherited from them.

He started his professional career by first studying for the Roman Catholic Priesthood. His seven years in the seminary taught him a lot about treating people with kindness and continually developing sustainable relationships. In 1982 he applied for his first healthcare position as a salesman, the hiring manager looked at him and asked: “Why should I hire you – you never sold anything” to which he responded, you are incorrect about that – I sold God for seven years, and that was not easy. He was hired on the spot and spent nearly ten years in the pharmaceutical industry before transitioning to Home Health Care to learn more about the health services sector. In 1998, he became an entrepreneur and started his first company focused on disease management selling the company in 2002. He then joined UnitedHealth Group as CEO of one of their business units and it was there where he learned everything about healthcare prompting him to launch his 2nd company in 2008 focused on providing information to medical doctors and nurses via mobile device to address the medication errors that took the life of his sister-in-law. He sold the company to Merck in 2013.

In 2015 after having been Chairman of the Board of Healthways, he became CEO of his first public company. Six months later, he orchestrated the sale of one of the sub-performing divisions, whereby his company paid the acquiring company $25 million to take the division. It was deemed one of the most creative transactions, and because of the sale, nearly a billion-dollar valuation was immediately created for the company. In 2020, he retired to devote his time to his two not-for-profit organizations, TramutoPorter Foundation and Health eVillages and to use the time to write The Double Bottom Line: How Compassionate Leaders Captivate Hearts and Deliver Results.

His legacy is compassion, where empathy and action are at the center of his leadership philosophy. This is exemplified when in 2010, he was reading an article that indicated in our lifetime, 1 billion people will go to their graves prematurely because they have no access to a healthcare worker. Six million children will die each year because they have no access to clean water, medications, or a healthcare worker. Rather than just show empathy, he launched the Health eVillages Organization to address the many challenges associated with healthcare access. 

He and his partner spend equal time living in Florence, Italy, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Ogunquit, Maine.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @DonatoTramuto get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShowClick to Tweet

“When a leader lacks empathy, they lose their ability to adapt their approach.” – Click to Tweet

“Being able to adapt means you can make better judgment calls and tailor your approach.” – Click to Tweet

“If you don’t have the trust, you can’t establish a culture, you can’t establish a strategy.” – Click to Tweet

“You can’t be compassionate in the workplace if you don’t establish yourself as a role model.” – Click to Tweet

“Part of that compassion to yourself is recognizing that you have to be human.” – Click to Tweet

“Compassion can be taught.” – Click to Tweet

“Kindness and compassion are currencies that can help you achieve your objectives in life.” – Click to Tweet

“A leader should ask the question to which they’re not afraid to receive the answer.” – Click to Tweet

“Compassion can lead to better results.” – Click to Tweet

“It’s not about what you did yesterday, it’s about what you do today and tomorrow.” – Click to Tweet

Advice for others

Have the ability to develop relationships. Without people and without the ability to have deep connections, you can’t get much done.

Holding him back from being an even better leader


Best Leadership Advice

Show yourself compassion.

Secrets to Success / Tools

Connection to people.

The Seven Storey Mountain

The Double Bottom Line: How Compassionate Leaders Captivate Hearts and Deliver Results

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