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  • Writer's pictureWung & Margareth

Compassionate Leadership: Substituting the Desire to Control with the Desire to Serve Others


Leadership is often synonymous with power and control, but there are those who stand out as beacons of compassion, leading with a radical approach that puts the needs of others first. One such leader is Mark, the owner of a funeral home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, whose remarkable journey into compassionate leadership has not only earned him accolades but has also left lasting impacts on the lives of those he serves.



Mark's funeral home has been voted as the number-one funeral home for five consecutive years. However, it's not just his professional success that sets him apart; it's his unwavering commitment to compassion that truly distinguishes him as a leader.



Our friendship with Mark began in the Midwest, and it soon evolved into a mission-driven partnership that would take us on a transformative journey to a Tangkhul Naga village in the northeastern region of India. Mark would later describe this trip as one of the most profound and life-changing experiences of his life.


What makes Mark stand out as a leader, and what can we learn from his approach to leadership?

Let's delve into some of the key lessons we can learn from his inspiring journey.


1. Compassion: A True Mark of Leadership

Mark's leadership is characterized by compassion. Derived from the Latin word "pati," which means "to suffer," compassion entails suffering with others. Mark has demonstrated an exceptional ability to enter into solidarity with people during their most trying moments, particularly when they are grieving the loss of a loved one. He doesn't just serve as a funeral director; he becomes a source of comfort and solace for those who mourn. In the words of Jesus, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Mark lives this teaching by embodying compassion in his leadership.


2. Passion for People

Leadership is at its best when it's driven by a genuine love for people. Mark's love for people is exemplary. Whether young or old, from any background or race, he interacts with everyone as if they were lifelong friends. His warm hospitality creates an environment where people thrive. It's a reminder that people flourish in a hospitable and friendly atmosphere.


3. Prioritizing People

To bring out the best in others, you must make them a priority. Mark has an innate ability to make individuals feel like they are the most important person in the room. He elevates people and makes them feel genuinely special. His generosity in giving credit and offering praise where it's due inspires those around him to excel and contribute their best.


4. A Big Man with a Big Heart

Mark's leadership is characterized by both words and actions that emanate love and life. His infectious smile and the size of his heart are equally immense. When he embraces you, it's with genuine delight and warmth. He leads with vulnerability, sharing his own struggles and weaknesses when necessary. In doing so, he creates a space where care, support, and compassion flourish. His compassion extends not only to the living but also to the departed, as he serves with equal tenderness and reverence.


Mark's leadership is an example of how compassion can be a radical force for good in a world often driven by self-interest and control. It reminds us that true leadership isn't about controlling and ruling others; it's about serving them. Mark's journey from a successful funeral home owner to a compassionate leader serves as an inspiring testament to the power of compassion in leadership.


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