I’ve had quite a few questions about whether kindness is “teachable” in the past few weeks! So this week’s Kind Leader focus will be on what I call “Leading by kind example.”
When my son was young, he was often bullied. He didn’t respond to those who bullied him with unkindness, though. He responded with kindness. When I asked him why, he said: “The kids bullying me had to learn their unkind behavior from someone. If I respond unkindly, I’m only reinforcing what they already know. If I respond with kindness, they have the opportunity to learn something new and a different, better way to treat people.”
When people act unkindly, at work, at home or in the community, I don’t automatically assume they “know” how to be kind. People come from all different backgrounds and experiences, and if their leaders didn’t model kindness for them and “teach them” to be kind, they will act in the unkind ways that they themselves have had modeled to them.
So, this week, please take time to focus on:
1. Your own actions, reactions and interactions. Are they kind or not? If not, where did you get that model of acting from? From family, business school classes, leaders you are influenced by?
2. When you see how others are acting, reacting and interacting, how are you responding? Are you “assuming” they should know how to act differently and more kindly?
As a leader, every time you act, react, and interact, you are “teaching” others, through what you are modeling. To “teach” others how to be kind, you need to “Lead by kind example.” Others do what you do, and say what you say, kind and unkind…
You can learn more, and find lots of practice exercises to help you “Lead by kind example”, throughout The Kind Leader!