Be Kind

One of our team asked their supervisor (a valued senior manager in our company) whether the supervisor had read an E-Mail that was sent.  In front of a group of ten people, the supervisor responded: “I have seen that you sent me an E-Mail; I have not read the E-Mail.  I have a lot of priorities and your E-Mail is not my top priority.  I will get back to you when your E-Mail gets to the top of my priority list…”

Time for a little coaching with this supervisor. Despite what we often see on television, leaders should never be this inconsiderate.  As leaders, we need to always be kind.

Why Do We Always Need to Be Kind:

  • The power of our position: as leaders in a hierarchy, we have control over the lives and well-being of our employees.  Hence, everything that we say or do, good or bad, is magnified in the eyes of our employees.
  • The overwhelming power of negativity: In countless social psychology studies, it has been shown that one negative comment has 4 – 5 times the power of a positive comment.  Thus, we should be especially careful about negative or unkind comments.
  • There is never a time to be unkind.  Firm discussions and discipline should be focused on improving the employee and always need to be done with empathy, kindness and consideration.

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”  Dalai Lama

Some Ways to Ensure That We Are Always Kind:

  • Realize that we are blessed: As leaders we are in an advantageous position, usually well-paid and doing a job that we enjoy. In short, we should be grateful for what we have.  If we still cannot be kind and considerate in such a situation, then we may not have the moral stock to be a leader.
  • Consider that our employees are usually facing their own challenges and difficulties.  They certainly do not need another unkind comment or action from their boss.  As Plato is reported to have said:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

  • Keep our egos in check. Wayne Dyer puts it well:

“In the battle to be right or kind, choose kind; it’s closer to your values and the values of others.”

  • Remember to take a moment to respond, especially when upset or angry.  As leaders and people, we should never instinctively react.  A measured response is far better than a quick-trigger reaction.
  • Take care of ourselves and our families:  It is easier to be kind to others when we are healthy and doing well in our own personal lives.  Even when we don’t feel great, however, we need to have on our leadership game face and be positive and kind.
  • Realize the advantages of kindness.  Being kind makes us happier and builds winning teamwork.

“Doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.”  Martin Seligman (Positive Psychologist)


“It is rather embarrassing to have given one’s life to pondering the human predicament and to find that in the end one has little more to say than: ‘Try to be a little kinder.’” Aldous Huxley (British Author of Brave New World)


About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
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