Why Should Leaders Be Kind?

What role does “kindness” play in leadership?

Recent studies show that kindness isn’t just a feel-good quality.

What the Studies Say

Among the growing body of research that connects happiness to leadership, here are two worth highlighting:

  • Warwick University Study: This study found that happier employees are 12% more productive. They conclude that kindness can contribute to a happier workplace, leading to increased productivity, communication, and collaboration.
  • Harvard Business Review: An article titled “Good Leadership Is an Act of Kindness” emphasizes the link between kind leadership and employee well-being. They conclude that kindness reduces stress, improves morale, and can even contribute to better physical health for employees.

In short, studies, common sense, and general experience tell us that kind leaders experience improved morale and engagement, higher productivity, better health (mental, emotional, and physical), better retention, enhanced creativity, higher trust, and better relationships. Personally, wouldn’t you prefer to work with and for a kind leader?

Putting Kindness into Practice

Fortunately, kindness is both a trait that you can develop and a skill that you can learn. Here’s how:

  • Pre-week plan to be present: The most commonly reported reason leaders don’t connect with people is that they are “too busy.” So, prioritize time for your people when you pre-week plan. You’ll also feel less overwhelmed and be approachable.
  • Take an interest in people: Get to know those around you and take a genuine interest in them. Ask them, “What is your story?” Learn about their families, hobbies, and interests. Do you know what’s new in their life right now?
  • Recognize and appreciate achievements: A sincere “thank you” or public acknowledgment goes a long way. And, perhaps most importantly, recognize the effort and contributions of others, not just their results.
  • Offer support during challenges: Be present and understanding when employees face difficulties. We all need a “lift-me-up” every now and then. Offer a listening ear, kind words of encouragement, and even support and help when others need it.
  • Embrace open communication: Encourage honest feedback and create a welcoming space for different perspectives. Follow the old biblical maxim: “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

Wrapping Up

So, pre-week plan to be present, take a genuine interest in people, recognize their efforts and contributions, support them when they’re down, and be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. You’ll develop rich relationships with others, lead better, inspire others to be kind, and transform culture. That’s becoming your best!

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” – Kahlil Gibrar

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