top of page

Compassion Culture questionnaire

From a foundation of self-compassion, it is possible to build a more compassionate culture in your team or organisation. A good starting point is to assess your current levels of personal compassion, so you can have a professionally facilitated discussion based on your anonymised answers as a team. For example, you might rate yourself on a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (always) for the following questions. Complete this quiz and check your answers using the scoring process.

1. Do you notice when colleagues are upset, even when they don't say anything?
2. Do you notice when colleagues need help or support before they ask for it?
3. Do you pick up on how colleagues are feeling when you are around them?
4. Do you think colleagues usually bring problems on themselves?
5. Do you find yourself looking down on other colleagues, or thinking you could do things better than them?
6. Do you think it is unprofessional when colleagues are unable to keep their personal problems out of the workplace?
7. Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed when colleagues tell you about the problems they are facing?
8. Do you find yourself mirroring the emotions of those around you sometimes?
9. When you see a colleague feeling sad, do you instinctively want to reach out to them?
10. When you see a colleague feeling stressed, do you instinctively want to avoid them?
11. Do you think colleagues should learn to self-regulate their emotions and deal more effectively with their own problems?
12. Do you find people are usually good at hiding how they feel, so you are usually sudprised when someone tells you how difficult they are finding things?
13. Are you able to retain distance, and not be emotionally affected when people tell you how they are feeling?
14. When you need to raise a difficult issue with a colleague, do you first try and imagine how you would feel if you were in their place?

If you are highly compassionate, you would expect high scores across for questions 1-3, 7-9 and 14 and low scores for questions 4-6 and 10-13. If you do this as a team and achieve high scores for these questions, this indicates that you have a compassionate culture. If your culture is not compassionate, then you would expect the reverse.


A discussion about issues like this takes careful framing and facilitation, especially if you think you have a mix of people with very different perspectives on compassion. This is why I would always recommend having such a discussion with a professional facilitator with clear ground rules to minimise any likelihood of further emotional damage if there are individuals in the group who are far from compassionate. Summarising some of the research on the benefits of compassion in the workplace, as I have done in Impact Culture, is a good way of framing the discussion once you have the survey results. There will be some who believe firmly in “tough love” and the power of fear or shame to drive action. While you are unlikely to change the deeply held values that drive these approaches to interpersonal interaction, through discussion and with support (in word and deed) from leaders, it is possible for such a discussion to create a new and powerful group norm. Over time, such norms become self-reinforcing, creating a new team dynamic and atmosphere, attracting others to the team who share your compassionate approach, increasingly outnumbering those who are uncompassionate.


From: Reed MS (2022) Impact Culture, Fast Track Impact.

Scoring process
bottom of page