This week’s Kind Leadership Focus: Kindness - and Kind Leadership - takes a lot of strength. Being kind, and leading with kindness isn’t - and doesn’t show - weakness. One of the most common questions I’m asked (usually by men) about Kind Leadership is “If I’m kind, and lead with kindness, won’t those I’m leading think they can walk all over me?” At the heart of this question is what I believe is a common misconception about kindness: that kindness - and being kind to others - is a type of weakness. Truth is, it’s the opposite: Acting, speaking and thinking kindly actually takes (and shows) a huge amount of strength. Especially for leaders. Here’s an example: A team member is chronically late handing in work and often misses deadlines. The easy thing to do would be to think unkindly about how that person doesn’t care about your needs, yell at the person for being late again and give them a poor performance review at the end of the year. The more difficult thing to do, and the one that takes more strength, is to spend time with the person to really understand why they are chronically late. Perhaps they are having problems at home, or mental health struggles, or have a learning difficulty. Helping them figure out strategies to overcome their difficulties - and supporting them while they do - doesn’t show weakness. It shows leadership. Thinking that others are going to “walk all over you” if you lead with kindness, is actually “assuming negative intent” and an unkind way to think about people. Leading with kindness takes strength…and is a strength. As I always say, “It takes more strength to be kind than unkind.” This week, please take time and notice how you are thinking about strength and weakness as it applies to leadership. And if you are thinking that people will think they can “walk all over you if you are kind”, please check your thoughts and do some introspection about why you are thinking that way.
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