The Kind Leader
Can we can create an organizational culture that delivers results, while holding human dignity at its core?
I believe one way to do this in business is to train, equip and encourage leaders to develop a kind awareness as an essential competency. Most of the images we have are of cutthroat leaders following the playbook of the Art of War to get ahead, where bullying, yelling and backstabbing are not only condoned, they are seen as the secret to success. How we define success is what matters. Putting money, profits and market share above dignity and care is one measure. Given that “we measure what we treasure and treasure what we measure” let’s invent a new success measure: kindness. Not the only one, but an essential one.
Kindness is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of courage and integrity. Let’s begin to cultivate this idea by asking some questions. Am I brave enough to go from being polite to speaking the truth? Am I brave enough to speak up when I see micro and macro aggression? Am I brave enough to use my voice with care? Am I brave enough to stand for dignity and kindness no matter what?
If you recognize that actions have consequences and it is time for a shift in our current context, the competencies articulated below can be woven with kind awareness into the fabric of our institutions:
- Cultivate awareness practices such as starting with three conscious breaths at each transition of the day.
- Master handling breakdowns as they occur. See our blog on Anatomy of a Breakdown.
- Practice giving regular, clear and kind feedback.
- Value harmony and connection.
- Use practices to cultivate kindness such as loving kindness meditation. Click here to download instructions.
Finally, take a moment each day to offer kindness and even love to the people in your office, community, to yourself and even to those who are difficult for you to be with.