Can Being Kind Be A Leader’s Competitive Advantage?
By Randy Wolken, President & CEO
In today’s fast-paced, global economy, can kindness be your competitive leadership advantage? I, for one, think it can be. It takes all kinds to make a community. We all know people who fit on all aspects of the “kindness” spectrum. And in my experience, those individuals who act with kindness, and are known for being kind, succeed as leaders. Now, that doesn’t mean they are push-overs, soft-on-fundamentals or oblivious-to-reality. In fact, it’s just the opposite. They are kind despite living in the same competitive and difficult situations as their colleagues and friends.
Good leaders are constantly challenged by striving to do more or succeeding despite the odds. That’s why we listen to them, learn from them, and follow them. However, the truly great ones do this with a kindness that makes being with them special and worth the effort. Life is hard. Business is competitive. Troubles are on the horizon – constantly. The true test of a leader is how they handle them. When the leader does lead with kindness – everyone notices. It does truly matter. Can they laugh and smile even when the chips are down? Can they find the spirit to care for a colleague or friend when they are hurting? Will they show up and lend a hand when it truly matters? These are ways leaders can be kind.
Great leaders do what they do with a generous spirit of service. Great leaders notice everyone and their contributions and are grateful and thankful for them. Great leaders can be firm but gentle with others when they make mistakes and encourage the person to try again.
These are all examples I have seen of leaders demonstrating kindness. I have been with great leaders who are great because they are both kind and effective. And, I am most certain they would not be so great if they were not also so kind and desirable to be with. So, during this season of reflection and joy, who are your hero leaders? Are they kind? Could greater kindness be your competitive advantage as a leader? Having met so many wonderful leaders, I put kindness at the top of the qualities I look for and so do many of the people I meet. During this Holiday Season, it’s a good time to increase your competitiveness – by focusing on being just a little kinder. I guarantee it will make you – and those you lead and work with – happier and more successful.