If you asked the general public to name words that describe good leadership qualities, you would probably have to wait awhile before the word “kindness” cropped up.
Leadership figures are often portrayed as having to be inherently powerful, aggressive even, demanding, and relentless. They have to expect their staff to give their best at all times, and they have to be willing to bring the hammer down when things go wrong. Kindness just doesn’t figure into that.
There’s no doubt that the aforementioned issue is encouraged by current business cultures. Companies encourage their leaders to be harsh with those who take too many sick days, and will cut loose an employee who is going through a rough time and needs more support than normal. Everything about the modern world tells leaders that they have to be ruthless, almost emotionless– but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re in a leadership position at work, you can start to live the difference you want to see in the world. To aid you in this pursuit, let’s discuss three important values you should seek to integrate into your working personality.
“Understanding” is a hugely undervalued trait in leaders, but it’s a trait that is essential to good leadership. A leader who isn’t understanding, who completely lacks any emotional intelligence, is not a leader that anyone is going to want to work for.
Eventually, staff will always drift away from such a domineering, demanding presence who seems to expect everyone’s lives to be exactly as the boss thinks they should be. Reality doesn’t work like that; it’s messy and difficult; problems will occur and people will make mistakes. Understanding that these issues don’t make someone a poor employee is an essential quality for effective leadership.
There are two different ways you should seek to be generous with your staff. The first is the most obvious; taking the time to show your appreciation of those you lead on major holidays. Find out when everyone’s birthday is and send cards when the date arrives; for Christmas, you can thrill the entire office by sending ekarda Christmas e-cards and spreading the Christmas cheer. These are small touches, but they will make a big difference to your fellow staff members.
Secondly, you should seek to be generous with your time. If someone needs to talk with you, or requires extra clarification on a project, then be generous and afford them the time they require to feel comfortable and confident in their role.
If there is one thing that is essential to leadership, it’s honesty. The people that work for and with you need to feel that you are always speaking your mind; that you can be trusted to tell the truth and never hold back information from them. Even if this occasionally means confronting uncomfortable truths, it’s worth it– this is still far superior to being perceived as secretive.
If you add these three traits to your workplace thought process, you — and the people who work with you — will enjoy a long and fruitful working experience.