There is no training program that teaches it that I am aware of. The skills of strategic planning, organization, sharp decision making and delegation don't require it. But yet the best leaders I have known possess it. What is it? Kindness. Is it a natural or learned skill that can be developed later in life? I don't know. But one thing I do know is that kindness is necessary if a leader wants to be as effective as they can be.
Kindness can create trust, respect and can even help a leader become loved, maybe adored and possibly revered. In my lifetime I have had the pleasure of working with leaders who were sensitive, empathetic, caring and gracious – all important attributes of kindness. On the other hand I have worked with "leaders" who were selfish, thoughtless, rude and self-centered – each being an opposite attribute of kindness. Were leaders such as the latter effective? Yes, some of them got good results. However, and this is important, they were never able to engender the type genuine loyalty, trustworthiness and steadfastness that results in the higher retention rates, innovative employee ideas and dedicated followers of kind leaders. In fact I would argue it was never even close!
Of course kindness is not the magic pill of leadership; other important skills in management and leadership must be practiced as well. But great leaders are aware of it and practice it as part of their positive arsenal of leadership luster. So, what do you think? Is kindness necessary in leadership? Let's talk. I welcome your comments, experiences and stories.
5 Practical Suggestions for Being More Kind as a Leader
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