Compassionate Systems Leadership

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Last updated: August 17, 2022

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Compassionate Systems Leadership (CSL) is anchored in five key values:

  • self-awareness
  • social awareness
  • responsible decision-making
  • self-management
  • relationship skills

This approach inspires transformation and instructional best practices that lead to student success. Leaders build on existing foundations of strong leadership. They can then engage new system awareness tools and embed compassion into their work.

The Ministry of Education and Child Care has partnered with UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) to build capacity in CSL province-wide. This will create a sustainable infrastructure to support early learning to transition into the K-12 education system to integrate compassion into everyday work.

Compassionate Systems Leadership has three core elements to support systems change and well-being.

  1. Self Leadership – cultivating self-reflection, self-awareness and mindfulness practices
  2. Relational Leadership – building authentic connections where space is created to be truly present
  3. Systems work – understanding and fostering connections between self, others and the broader system


Self-reflection and practice

CSL uses simple tools to build awareness. It encourages regular reflective journaling and personal mindfulness meditation.

Personal mindfulness meditation is the deep skill of:

  • pausing
  • understanding our emotions and thoughts
  • responding from a place of clarity

Authentic connections where space is created to be truly present 

CSL introduces practices that foster awareness and relationships amongst groups of colleagues that are:

  • deeper
  • more authentic
  • trusting

These practices are essential to more courageous systems work. By creating time and space for us to share our thoughts and emotions without judgment, we can bring our whole selves into the work. 

This approach also supports curiosity about more transformative conversations. These conversations take us beyond our existing ways of thinking into a more aspirational approach. As a result, this encourages more innovative and creative solutions.

Connections between self, others, and the broader system 

CSL provides a broad set of tools for viewing the challenges and opportunities faced by schools. It helps us incorporate a series of practices and concepts that facilitate:

  • perspective taking
  • knowledge about systemic behavior

These practices also help us identify the patterns that lead us into a continuous cycle of frustration and powerlessness. This allows us to find creative solutions that lead to better outcomes.


take action

Take action

There are many ways to get involved with Compassionate Systems Leadership and be part of the Provincial Network.  For information on Compassionate Systems Leadership, to join the Network, or to sign up for the newsletter, contact Joanne Schroeder.

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