Leaders from the playground to the boardroom hold the key to shaping the culture and direction of the world we share as well as the impact we create. In a world where people too often turn to apathy and disengagement in the face of global issues, it is now more vital than ever that our leaders change the way they make decisions and lead with thoughtfulness, consciousness, and compassion. This is where compassionate leadership comes in.

Roots & Shoots, following in the ideology of our founder, Dr. Jane Goodall, is calling for compassion from our leaders—not just in business and politics, but in all walks of life. A compassionate leader is someone who considers how a decision will impact all creatures and our planet, and works tirelessly to improve the lives of others. When we say "leader," we mean absolutely anyone, whether it be an individual who leads by example on a day-to-day basis or a CEO.

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The best way to bring out compassion in our leaders is to teach them compassionate leadership from the very beginning. As Dr. Jane realized more than 25 years ago, the only real long-term answer to a different approach to stewardship of the planet is through more enlightened future generations. That’s why Roots & Shoots focuses on our youth. We empower young people to practice and develop compassionate leadership skills to make a difference for their community and to tackle worldwide challenges that they are passionate about through youth-led service projects. By giving young people the tools to lead with compassion early on, we give them the tools to change the world. 

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What makes Dr. Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzai,
and Dr. Jane Goodall the compassionate leaders
that they are/were? These prominent figures—and
all compassionate leaders—share nine qualities.

The nine skills/traits on the left represent the
competencies of a compassionate leader. They were 
identified and validated specifically for youth, by youth. 

Read about exemplary young leaders who have grown up through Roots & Shoots and possess all of the qualities of a compassionate leader:

Madison Vorva

René Jameson

Kye Masino

Sophia Hu

Meet more Roots & Shoots compassionate young leaders here. 

Use these activities to learn and exercise the nine skills/traits of a compassionate leader — with your group or on your own.

Mindfulness: Acts of Kindness Activity
(For Younger Children)

Compassionate Leadership Rubric
(For Group)

Compassionate Leadership Rubric
(For Individual)

Personality Quiz
Are you a compassionate leader?
Coming Soon!

Flash Cards
Learn the traits!

Educators, learn how to implement a service learning campaign with your youth while growing their compassionate leadership skills. Click here to check out the Roots & Shoots free, online course, "Growing Compassionte Young Leaders Through Service Learning."