Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

F3 | June 29, 2017

Scroll to top



F3 Q’s: Such Compassion

“I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.”  ― Mother Teresa

I’m a retired Navy officer.  I currently work as fire captain in a big city firehouse.  I’ve spent the last twenty-eight years leading teams immersed in adrenaline-heavy, rough and tumble, predominantly-male environments.   You might think there’s not much room in such environments for compassion, but I’ve found the exact opposite to be true.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my journey, it’s that compassion might be the MOST ESSENTIAL trait for a leader.

To understand why this is so, it is important to truly understand compassion.   Compassion is not about feeling sorry for someone.  It’s not about giving charity.  It’s not even really about knowing how another person feels.

The Latin root com means “with.”  The Latin root passio means “suffering.”  Thus compassion literally means “with the suffering” or “co-suffering.”

George Washington led with compassion at Valley Forge.

washington at valley forge


Martin Luther King, Jr. led with compassion from Birmingham jail.


When I’m asked who I turn to as a leadership role model, my number one answer is Blessed Teresa of Calcutta… Mother Teresa.   I could go on all day about the reasons she’s my leadership hero, but there is no doubt that she changed the world by leading with compassion from the streets of Calcutta.

mother t

So compassion is not a female thing.  It’s not a male thing.  It’s not a soft and fuzzy feeling, nor is it about forgiveness, nor handouts, nor crying, nor none of that.

Why are F3 Q’s great leaders?  Because they are compassionate leaders.  Ultimately compassion is a with thing.  You want to lead with compassion?  You just gotta lead with.

not a boss

Gnarly Goat


  1. Great perspective and such a simple outline, for something that is actually pretty hard to define. Tclaps.

  2. Awesome! Gonna share this with the PAX at The Powder Keg, for sure! Thanks Gnarly Goat!

  3. Thanks, Goat. This perspective and trait Is just one of many that makes you an easy person to follow. Will this help me with the Murph tomorrow?

  4. You mean I have to be compassionate when I lead my first Q in a week or two? Darn. lol

  5. You mean I have to be compassionate when I lead my first Q in a week or two? Darn. lol

  6. Ann & Hope

    Aye. Thanks for leadership and compassion here.

  7. Great post! Thanks GG. It’s the with-ness that makes F3. We get lots of “passio”…but there’s always the “com” that makes is bearable.

  8. When tested, the number one character strength of West Point cadets was not bravery, or leadership or self-regulation. It was love. Great article.

  9. Aye! Right on Gnarly Goat and thank you for your leadership. BTW, love the last image.

Submit a Comment

You must be logged in to comment (see page top or bottom). Need a login? See FAQs.