For Leaders, Kindness is Underrated
Would you go above and beyond for a leader who wasn’t kind to you? I always found that the more kind my leaders were, the more willing I was to go out of my way for them. When I became a leader myself, I committed to starting with kindness and it has never failed.
Accepting These 6 Painful Truths Will Make You a Better Leader (July 21, 2016) from Entrepreneur magazine lists six painful truths about leadership. The importance of kindness is one of them. The author writes:
“You may think that your leadership position gives you license to say or do whatever you want. After all, you are there to lead, not to make friends — right? But you will quickly realize how much havoc you can cause with a single careless comment. Showing kindness may be an underrated value, but it is an important and necessary one. Conscious kindness can transform how you lead your team and send a clear message for how they should treat each other.”
This is especially true in hard conversations. One time, a leader who reported to me was consistently falling short of expectations. When I called him in to meet with me, he assumed I was about to fire him. Instead, I explained my position and then asked, “What would you like to see happen here?”
This gave him a chance to explain himself. He opened up to me and said that he wasn’t happy in his current role. He wanted to take a step back and return to his previous role as a non-supervisor. He had done a great job in that role, so of course I agreed. The shift worked well for everyone involved. If I had come down hard and fired him for his mistakes, I would have lost a great employee.
As a leader, you set the tone for the people you lead and serve. If you commit to starting from a place of kindness, you can be sure everyone else will follow.