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Lessons Learned as a Human Being and Small Business Owner: Equanimity and Compassion are Key

Margie Knott, Board Member of Pangaea Consultants

I cannot recall ever seeing equanimity, authenticity, compassion, or forgiveness listed as a required skill in a recruitment ad for any position, let alone for a top spot! Yet, if you think about many of the great leaders who amassed tremendous numbers of supporters, it is these types of abilities that drew their followers to them.

I wish I could say that I came by these attributes naturally and have exemplified them throughout my career; but that would not be true. What is true is the remarkable difference in my life and relationships since adopting equanimity and compassion.

Lesson 1: Leaders need to be mindful of how they show up 

 The anatomy of a leader is evolving, and COVID-19 is pressing leaders to transform rapidly.  It has forced all of us to reinvent how we show up each day; physically and emotionally.  Now, more than ever human beings need truly meaningful relationships, with ourselves first, our family next and also with our contemporaries and leaders in business.

Although technology is keeping us connected and able to continue with our work, it does present some significant challenges to genuine and meaningful collaboration. Because our world is filled with ambiguity a significant paradigm shift in how we relate with our peers and subordinates is essential.

Lesson 2: Now more than ever, leaders must recognize the importance of compassion and authenticity

 The expectation that leaders will achieve results, progress strategy and deliver shareholder value is not going away. Recognizing that your organization’s greatest asset wants calm leadership with compassion and authenticity supporting them as a human being is what will distinguish your leadership in today’s world.

One would hope for authenticity in a leader all the time. Unfortunately, corporate design has not always supported this. What might have been a nice to do before is crucial during unprecedented times like these.  Genuine commitment to share good and bad will be recognized and rewarded and will bring some level of calm; even to the most anxious. We are swamped with information and have rightfully become suspicious of the truthfulness of what is put before us as fact. Lack of authenticity from a leader is now much more readily uncovered and brought to light, far beyond the corporate walls. Give me 1000 truths that are hard to hear over 1 lie.

 Lesson 3: Compassionate leaders create an environment that fosters creativity and innovation  

 Another pain point for many organizations is stagnation and lack of creativity. Worry of reprisal for mistakes will create an environment rife with indecision which results in stagnation, of the individual and the corporation. Organizations whose leaders embody compassion and forgiveness can experience incredible innovation and growth as employees focus upon the positive of what might be instead the fear of what might happen if….

It’s time to embrace equanimity

 What I found to be the most dramatic shift with the greatest personal reward was moving from reacting in the moment filled with emotion (usually negative) to embracing equanimity.  Recognizing each moment with calm and compassion, regardless of the situation, offers immeasurable assurance and supports others as they attempt to achieve their own level of equilibrium. While it may seem impossible with everything spinning around us, I have learned to remind myself that everything is transient. When a leader becomes angered or anxious, the moment will pass. Their reaction will not affect that moment in time, but it will impact those around who witness the behaviour. Intense negative emotions can stifle and break any bond that might have existed. Trust is fractured and Trust is everything!

About Margie Knott

Margie Knott, Board Member of Pangaea Consultants

Margie and her husband Joe are the owners of Pangaea Consultants. Margie administers Finance and Joe is Managing Director

Prior to joining the Pangaea team Margie held numerous positions in the pharmaceutical industry and was last with AstraZeneca Canada, as Director, Pharmacy Initiatives.

Most importantly, Margie is a mother, step-mother and grandmother. Joe and Margie are blessed with a blended family of 7 children and 11 grandchildren and all of the love and learning that goes along with it!


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