How to Have Compassionate Performance Reviews

BL00 - Session Highlight From Mindful Leader Summit (1)

Key Highlights

  • Mindset and Motivation: Before conducting a performance review, it is crucial to examine your own mindset and motivation. Challenge yourself to approach the conversation with a service-oriented mindset, devoid of hidden motives, and guided by compassion.
  • Recognition of Humanity and Positive Intent: Recognize that the individuals involved in performance reviews are human beings with their own unique experiences and perspectives. Assume positive intent, understanding that everyone is doing their best with the resources available to them. Foster a sense of connection and empathy rather than judgment.
  • Body Language and Emotional Triggers: Body language and emotional triggers can significantly impact communication. Be aware of the role of the autonomic nervous system in regulating emotional states. Recognize different states of safety and identify your own emotional triggers to ensure effective and compassionate communication.
  • Delivering Difficult Messages Mindfully: When delivering difficult messages, practice mindful attendance by being fully present and engaged. Remain calm and composed, and communicate clearly and directly. Share information with a service-oriented approach, prioritizing maintaining a positive relationship.

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Session Summary

In a session at the 2022 Mindful Leader Summit, Bridgette Morehouse, CEO at Lead Human, illuminated the intricacies of compassion in leadership. Bridgette, a former executive with almost three decades of experience at Ford Motor Company, Intel, and Amazon shared insights into transforming the often-dreaded performance review process into a compassionate and mindful exchange.

Mindset and Motivation Examination

The journey through compassionate leadership begins with a critical self-examination of mindset and motivation. By challenging oneself to be of service to others and avoiding hidden motives, Morehouse suggested a transformative approach to performance reviews. The emphasis was on fostering a compassionate mindset, resonating with the overarching theme of the summit.

Recognition of Humanity and Positive Intent

The session underscored the imperative of recognizing the humanity in individuals undergoing performance evaluations. In navigating the delicate terrain of performance reviews, Morehouse advocated for assuming positive intent, acknowledging that each person is striving to do their best with the resources at hand. This perspective shifts the narrative from judgment to connection, aligning with the principles of mindful leadership.

Body Language and Emotional Triggers

Understanding the subtle nuances of body language and emotional triggers emerged as a pivotal aspect of effective leadership communication. Morehouse delved into the autonomic nervous system's role, shedding light on how states of safety impact dialogue. By being attuned to emotional triggers, leaders can cultivate an environment conducive to connection, paving the way for more compassionate interactions.

Delivering Difficult Messages Mindfully

Navigating the delicate task of delivering challenging messages was explored through an insightful ABC framework: Attending mindfully, Behaving calmly, and Communicating clearly. The emphasis on being fully present, maintaining composure, and sharing information with a service-oriented approach underlined Morehouse’s commitment to transforming performance reviews into opportunities for growth and connection.


As the session unfolded, it became evident that compassionate leadership is not a lofty ideal but a tangible approach that can reshape the corporate landscape. By infusing mindfulness, recognizing shared humanity, and embracing positive intent, leaders can transform routine performance reviews into meaningful, growth-oriented conversations. The insights from this session serve as a beacon for leaders seeking to navigate the complex terrain of human connection in the corporate realm, fostering an environment where individuals thrive and organizations flourish.

Bridgette has 30 years in corporate HR, at Ford,, and Intel. She has worked professionally as a Chief Learning Officer, Lead Negotiator, HR Director, and most recently as solopreneur of her leadership coaching & training company, Lead Human. She credits her personal mindfulness practice of 23 years with her sanity, growth, and balance. She enjoys being a mom, lifelong learner, artist, and human being in progress.

Learn More about Bridgette

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