Self compassion in the workplace is more than a nice to have – The HR Director Magazine


Article by: Dr Elaine Beaumont – University of Salford |

Published: 15 November 2021

Dr Elaine Beaumont – University of Salford

12 November 2021

The workplace and office can be a pressured environment. Tight deadlines to meet, management to please, teams to manage and build, relationships to cultivate, budgets to stick to, targets to hit – in such environments our wellbeing can take a nosedive and leave us feeling the effects of stress – especially if we feel we’ve let something slip.

Self compassion is not something that many of us consider bringing to work. But self-compassion isn’t just nice-to-have in your personal life. It has a central place in business too. Rather than being soft and fluffy, self-compassion has been shown to reduce self-criticism, anxiety, improve mood and  self-esteem, and help people to become more confident, manage setbacks and remain motivated in the face of difficulties.

Employees with high levels of self-compassion are likely to be less stressed and more able to perform their role effectively. They develop skills and resources that are crucial for personal and professional development. It’s something that is linked to our wellbeing, and numerous studies have shown that it’s imperative for success in all areas of life.

We may think that criticising ourselves will help us perform better but actually rather than focusing on self-criticism (our internal bully) we can turn our attention to nurturing self compassion. Research shows that negativity actually paralyses rather than motivates us. Self-compassion helps employees bounce back after setbacks and can help people develop resilience. Rather than be stalled by mistakes or challenges, those with self compassion feel empowered to change direction and be flexible, ultimately improving their performance.

Those who are comfortable hearing feedback, especially negative feedback, without it causing an issue, can strive to change habits and routines to realign with what is best for business. Becoming too fixated with failures just sends us down a negative spiral where self development and growth becomes difficult.

Self compassion isn’t a get out of jail free card. It doesn’t let you off the hook. It requires vulnerability, courage and honesty to take a real look at what you are doing well, where you could develop, and take the right steps to improve. By not judging ourselves as individuals, but by accurately assessing a situation or action, those with higher self compassion do not limit their self worth but make a judgement based on wisdom and inner strength.

A growth mindset is an essential attribute for professional development and business growth. By fostering a culture of self compassion in the workplace, employers are helping their staff but also supporting an environment where motivated people can …….