Resilience Real-Time Podcast

Episode 17: Empathy and Compassion Fatigue


Empathy and compassion fatigue occur when emotional or physical exhaustion is experienced due to continuously taking on the trauma of others. It is not surprising that first responders report higher rates of compassion and empathy fatigue than other professionals. Police, paramedics, healthcare workers, social workers and counsellors have dedicated their working lives to helping others. The nature of their work depends on their ability respond to trauma systematically and logically – rather than empathetically or emotionally.

The same cannot be said for CEOs and managers who need to be unwavering in their demonstration of qualities such as integrity, compassion, connection and steadiness in order to support large teams. In today's climate, employees are grappling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their personal and professional lives. With no end in sight, leaders are feeling challenged by the continuous need to support their teams at a complex emotional level. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this conversation more relevant to leaders across industries such as education, law, business and defence.

Leadership as we know it is underpinned by compassion and empathy. Any desensitisation or fatigue in these areas has a negative effect on the resilience and well-being of leaders and staff alike. Strategies such as reassessing and reducing workloads as well as optimising daily resilience practices are just some of the immediate actions that leaders can put into practice.

In this episode of the resilience real-time podcast, Peta Sigley navigates the hard reality of empathy and compassion fatigue in today's climate. She also offers strategies to identify and overcome the high levels of stress and burnout which can occur in this space. Listen to this episode to learn more about how you can continue to support those around you by offering a sustainable level of personal warmth, empathy and compassion.

Featuring: Peta Sigley

Host: Simon Cook

Production: Claire Taylor

Music: Josh Jones

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