Leadership is: Kindness

Never look down on a person unless you're helping them up!

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up – Jesse Jackson

Being a kind leader is essential to building rapport with team members. Often, kindness is looked at not as a necessity, but rather a characteristic that is helpful if possessed, but one that can be worked around if absent. While the later is true, it is much more beneficial for a leader to work through being kind rather than around it.

Kindness is one of those words that have different connotations to different people, but simply put kindness is doing “good.” I understand we just went from mist to fog with the word good, but you understand the principle. Good is when actions inspire and benefit teams as opposed to demotivating and depressing them.

Over all leaders must desire to do good to their teams! For some leaders it is easy to want to be a blessing towards their teammates, for others it is more difficult. Here are a few ways to increase your desire to be kind:

  1. Focus on the positive. This is not to say that we over look areas of weakness or areas that need improving; however, when a leader focuses on a member’s area of excellence or contribution, their demeanor and view towards them changes. Remember a person will live up or down to your perception of them.
  2. Make the choice to patiently invest in them. This is a hard one for a leader. Ideally we want people who don’t need babysitting or investment. We’d like them to be self-sufficient and capable of going months with out our input or guidance. The truth of the matter is that this doesn’t exists, and if they’re not getting this from you, chances are they’re getting it from something or someone else. When a leader chooses to invest in a person for the sake of the person they will have more buy in to their success.They will search for areas of improvement, and for reasons to celebrate growth.
  3. Desire better for the organization. Actions are mirrored from leadership. If you want your organization to do better, if you want your team members to be better, treat them better. This is not rewarding mediocrity, but rather encouraging loyalty. Zappos.com founder and CEO Tony Hsieh knows this all too well. In his book Delivering Happiness he shares that his company thrives because their customer service is so great, and their customer service is so great because they chose to value their team members.

Kindness is not some characteristic that you can do with out, it is a necessity for success. However, it is not enough to desire to do good. You must do good! Good intentions alone only build frustration.

How are you going to show kindness to your team this week?

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2 thoughts on “Leadership is: Kindness

  1. PM Hut says:

    Hi Mason,

    I really like the quote in the beginning of your post, on looking down to other people… I have never heard this quote before…

    I agree that a leader has to be kind, but firm at the same time. Kindness, firmness, and consistency have to go hand in hand…

    PS: You might be interested in reading our latest leadership article here: http://www.pmhut.com/program-management-and-leadership . It’s a bit long but well worth the read…

    • PM Hut,

      Thank you for the kind words, and for sharing the article. It was rather lengthy but very informative, worth the read for sure!

      Kindness absolutely must be coupled with firmness and consistency. Without the other two, a leader will be seen as a pushover and as someone not worth following.

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