The Power of Self-Compassion in Building an Elite Organization

with Stacey Baird, Chief People Officer at Community Medical Services


Written by CT, Host of the HR Impact Show podcast.

Interview Key Takeaways


  • Self-compassion is the best off-ramp for burnout and compassion fatigue.

  • The three steps of self-compassion: mindfulness, recognizing our common humanity, and self-kindness.

  • Leaders should lead by example and create a culture of self-compassion within their teams and organizations.

In today's fast-paced and high-pressure work environment, it's easy to overlook the importance of self-compassion. We often prioritize productivity and results over our own well-being, leading to burnout and compassion fatigue. But what if I told you that self-compassion should be at the foundation of an elite organization? To explore this topic further, I had the pleasure of speaking with Stacey Baird, Chief People Officer at Community Medical Services, who has been championing the practice of self-compassion within her organization.

In this article, we will delve into the key themes discussed in our conversation and explore the implications and potential impact of self-compassion in the workplace.

The Journey to Self-Compassion

Stacey Baird has been in the field of human resources for 25 years, but it was only three years ago that she started focusing on self-compassion. She recognized that self-compassion is the best antidote to burnout and compassion fatigue, which are prevalent challenges in the mental health services industry. However, it was a personal experience that truly solidified the importance of self-compassion in her life.

When her daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, Stacey realized that she needed to demonstrate self-compassion in order to navigate the challenges of being a Chief People Officer, a mother of five, and a caregiver for her daughter. This personal journey led her to dive deeper into the science and research behind self-compassion, and she now shares her insights through her podcast, HR to HX.


The Three Steps of Self-Compassion

Stacey introduced a simple yet powerful model for practicing self-compassion, consisting of three steps: mindfulness, recognizing our common humanity, and self-kindness.


Mindfulness: Taking a Moment of Awareness

Mindfulness: Taking a Moment of Awareness The first step in practicing self-compassion is mindfulness, which involves taking a moment to pause and become aware of our thoughts and emotions. Stacey emphasizes that mindfulness doesn't necessarily require meditation; it can simply be a matter of taking a deep breath and asking ourselves, "What do I need right now?" This step is about creating space for self-reflection and understanding our own needs in any given situation.


Recognizing Our Common Humanity: Normalizing Our Emotions

The second step is recognizing our common humanity, which is about normalizing our emotions and experiences. Stacey highlights the importance of understanding that the challenges we face are not unique to us; they are part of the human experience. By acknowledging that others may be going through similar struggles, we can cultivate empathy and compassion for ourselves and others. Stacey suggests reaching out to colleagues who may have experienced similar challenges and offering support and understanding.


"Recognizing our common humanity is about normalizing our human responses to challenging situations." 

Stacie Baird


Self-Kindness: Treating Ourselves with Compassion

The final step is self-kindness, which involves treating ourselves with the same compassion and kindness we would extend to someone we love. Stacey encourages us to ask ourselves, "What would I say to someone I love in this situation?" and then say those same words to ourselves. This step is about giving ourselves permission to take care of our own needs and to be gentle and understanding with ourselves, especially during difficult times.


Applying Self-Compassion in the Workplace

While self-compassion is a personal practice, it can also have a profound impact on teams and organizations. Stacey shares her experiences of implementing self-compassion within her own team and organization, and offers insights on how other leaders can do the same.


Leading by Example

Stacey believes that leaders must lead by example when it comes to self-compassion. By demonstrating self-compassion in their own lives and sharing their experiences with their teams, leaders can create a culture that values self-care and well-being.

Stacey suggests using real-life examples to illustrate the importance of self-compassion, such as sharing how you navigated a challenging situation using the three steps of self-compassion. This not only normalizes the practice but also gives permission to others to prioritize their own well-being. 


"Leading by example is the easiest way to create a culture of self-compassion." 

Stacie Baird


Creating Space for Self-Compassion

Creating Space for Self-Compassion In high-pressure work environments, it's crucial to create space for self-compassion. Stacey recommends incorporating self-compassion practices into team meetings and discussions, especially after challenging situations or conflicts. By taking a moment to reflect on the emotions and needs of team members, leaders can foster a supportive and compassionate work environment.

Stacey also emphasizes the importance of giving team members permission to take the space they need, whether it's a few minutes to process a difficult conversation or a longer break to recharge.


The Impact of Self-Compassion

The impact of self-compassion in the workplace can be far-reaching. By prioritizing self-care and well-being, organizations can reduce burnout and compassion fatigue among their employees. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity, engagement, and overall satisfaction.

Stacey shares that practicing self-compassion has been instrumental in her own life, particularly during her daughter's illness. It has allowed her to show up as a better leader, mother, and caregiver. By integrating self-compassion into the fabric of an organization, leaders can create a positive and supportive work environment where employees can thrive.


"Self-compassion is the best off-ramp for burnout and compassion fatigue."

Stacie Baird


Conclusion and Future Outlook

Self-compassion is not just a personal practice; it is a powerful tool for building elite organizations. By prioritizing self-care and well-being, leaders can create a culture of compassion and support. The three steps of self-compassion—mindfulness, recognizing our common humanity, and self-kindness—provide a framework for individuals and teams to navigate the challenges of the workplace with grace and resilience.

As we continue to navigate the complexities of the modern work environment, let us remember the importance of self-compassion and its potential to transform our organizations and our lives.



Stacey Baird

Chief People Officer at Community Medical Services




Driven by her desire to elevate the Human Experience (HX) inside of organizations and across HR, Stacie has found her way through multiple successful start-ups, high-growth environments, and large public companies. Specializing in leading innovative HR teams that are highly aligned to having a measurable business impact, she has a passion for connecting the HX of employees to that of patients, clients and customers.

With a true focus on driving more human in the human experience, Stacie hosts a weekly syndicated podcast, HRtoHX focused on the practice of Human Resources and practical solutions for the professionals navigating that intersection. In addition, she has led Keynotes on this and other trending topics for over 10 years.

Currently in the role of Chief People Officer for a national Mental Health organization focused on solving the Opioid Crisis, she and her Employee Experience Team (EXT) lead change across a highly distributed workforce bound to a strong purpose and impact.

Connect with Stacie on LinkedIn



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