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Dr Maria Brown, David Ringwood & Dr Feena May

Compassionate leadership – coaching leaders to turn empathy into action

Stream: Learn
Area: Coaching
Type: Workshop
Style: Lecture

Session on Thursday, Apr 25, 16:45
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Compassionate leaders go beyond empathy; they act on their desire to help others. In doing so, they increase their own well-being and the well-being of those with whom they work, creating a ripple effect that can be transformative for an entire organisation. Given these broad benefits, anyone who wants to make an impact on an individual or organization should be asking the question: how do we transform every leader into a compassionate leader?

We will discuss the development of compassionate leadership from a practical perspective. First, we will share new, empirically grounded insights on the leadership behaviors that convey empathy (i.e. willingness to listen, insight into people) and compassion (i.e. sensitivity to other people’s feelings, ability to work with diverse people, ethical leadership). We will then discuss the role of increased self-awareness and feedback in the development of compassionate leaders. To see the impact of this approach in the real world, the Head of Global Learning and Development at the International Committee of the Red Cross will share the moving story of their programme for developing hundreds of compassionate humanitarian leaders who manage in some of the most challenging circumstances and locations in the world.


Dr Maria Brown leads the research function at MRG, providing empirically-based insights into contemporary themes in leadership. She has written about and presented research on key topics such as gender, culture and diversity. She is currently working on various projects exploring how generation and age interact to produce differences in leadership behaviors.

David Ringwood joined MRG in 2006, working with clients in all aspects of licensing, business development, consulting support and assessment application. David is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. He works extensively as an expert coach with clients internationally and speaks widely on topics relating to leadership and motivation.

Dr Feena May has worked at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRS) for the last 26 years. She founded the ICRC’s Humanitarian Leadership and Management School, a cutting edge leadership programme for the humanitarian sector. Feena is a visiting professor of leadership at IAE Paris Sorbonne, the University of Lucerne, and leads the Strategies for Leadership annual retreat at IMD focusing on developing women in leadership.

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