Compassion Corgis

Intentionally cultivating a culture of compassion boosts collaboration and deeper connections at work. War surgeon Dr David Nott OBE, recalls a crucial moment of emotional care at the Palace.

It can be easy to go through life thinking everyone else has it together and that it’s just us struggling with life. 

The consequence of this in the workplace can be a culture of masking and silence about what is really going on with us emotionally and an environment where disclosing these feelings feels too risky. This in turn leads to a sense of disconnection from our workplace, our colleagues and ourselves.

As leaders and colleagues, by telling stories of specific moments in life when someone intervened with sensitivity and humanity in your moment of struggle, we encourage vulnerability and openness to help from others. That it’s ok to not always have it tightly held together and allow ourselves to receive care. 

Intentionally cultivating a culture of compassion also boosts collaboration and deeper connections at work. In their study, Goetz et al noted that signals of caring played a key role in forming reciprocal relationships and one’s potential as a cooperative ally. 

A simple but wonderful story example of receiving compassion is Dr David Nott OBE, a war surgeon, who remembers a time he visited Buckingham Palace for lunch with the Queen whilst struggling with PTSD from a recent spell in Aleppo.

Use our free prompt sheet to reflect on your compassion stories which include questions such as:

When did an act of compassion help you make a deeper connection with an unlikely ally?

When did a lack of self-compassion trigger a new set challenges or undesirable events?

Download a free prompt pdf to start your compassion story

Courage Prompts



“The humanity of what she was doing was unbelievable”

Dr David Nott OBE


Listen to Dr Nott tell the story during his 2016 Desert Island Discs appearance.