When thinking about personality traits that make someone a strong, effective leader, the word kindness may not be on your list. The old adage, ?You can catch more bees with honey than vinegar,? holds true for leaders. While it doesn?t mean you never have to be tough, kindness is a very important trait in a strong leader.
Kind is Not Weak
Kindness is not a sign of weakness, nor is it always nice. Being kind doesn?t mean getting run over by others. It?s not about giving everyone what they want. So what is kindness? It begins with simple respect for your employees or team members. Every person deserves to be spoken to with kindness and respect. Degrading your team by treating them with less than common courtesy serves no one.
Some leaders believe that showing kindness to employees makes them appear unfair. They may be concerned that compassion encourages a personal connection with employees that is beyond professional. This is why it helps to define exactly what kindness in the workplace looks like and how it benefits you as a leader as well as your team dynamic. Let?s explore exactly what kind leadership behavior looks like and how it makes you better.
Kind leaders are truly compassionate. You must listen to your team, understand where they?re coming from, to be able to sympathize. That compassion and sympathy lets you deal with problems before they negatively impact team morale and productivity. You?ll be more adept at solving problems in the best way for everyone when you can fully comprehend how they affect everyone.
Be truthful with your team. When it comes to criticism, make sure it?s constructive and respectful. Bosses who mistreat their team, demoralize them. If you give someone actionable criticism, you?re providing them tools to improve. By the same token, be honest in the way you reward hard work. Give personal, specific recognition to team members who truly deserve it.
This relates to the point about honest recognition. Show your team your gratitude. Leaders can only do so much to encourage and support a team. The actual work being done and the overall environment are up to the team members themselves. Encourage your team to value each other as well.
Cultivate a kind culture in your workplace. From planning team volunteer days to encouraging random acts of kindness, get everyone on your team practicing kindness. Groups are far more likely to work together, be productive, and stay motivated if everyone is treating each other with courtesy and respect.
Clear, reliable means of communication prevent misunderstandings and wasted effort in the workplace. Establishing clear goals, frequency of project updates, and a means of communicating with everyone on the team will encourage participation from everyone. Develop and enact the best methods for your team shows them you value your time and effort enough to make sure it?s not wasted checking messages all day or working on projects with ever-changing goals.
Whether you?re the type of leader who manages with an ?iron fist in a velvet glove? or a pillar of compassion and empathy all the time, know that treating your employees with the kindness and respect you?d like from your boss will go far in creating a positive culture and a productive team.