Kindness in Leadeship

A 2017 WBI U.S. Survey shows 60.3 million workers are affected by workplace bullying.  19% of Americans suffered abusive conduct at work, another 19% have witnessed it, and 63% are aware that workplace bullying happens.

And, worst of all, 72% of bullies are bosses.

Bullying

I find it interesting that we have a government program whose sole purpose is to fight bullying in the workplace, yet

  • we celebrate the bullying that goes on constantly where we belittle others online for expressing an opposing view,
  • it is presented as a victory when we boycott or protest a business because they don’t agree with a particular political position, and
  • are happy to shame another person about a previous (potentially decades-old) statement.

How can we fight bullying if it is celebrated every day in our newspapers and our social media sites?

The answer for business people is to fight bullying through developing kindness in our leadership styles.

Kindness

            We have an epidemic of bullying in our culture, as well as a lack of kindness.

The easiest way to remedy these is for business leaders to develop and display kindness in their leadership styles, in such a manner that their leadership style should teach the benefits of kindness over bullying.

Here are several ideas on how to use and display purposeful acts of kindness as a business leader.

  1. Recognize kindness. Celebrate the successes of others you work with. Global research shows that when employees were asked what their boss or company could do to inspire them to strive for better results, recognition was, hands down, the number one answer. It was bigger than pay increases, promotions, training, and autonomy.Celebrating is kind, so recognize and celebrate kindness often.
  2. Support kindness. We all have busy, stressful lives. Whether you’re a leader or an employee, there’s too much “It’s not in my job description” going on, and not enough, “How can I help?”Generally speaking, employees who ask, “How can I help,” are the employees most likely to get promoted.
  3. Give feedback. A 10-year study by Harvard Business Review shows that the biggest reason second-rate executives don’t move up is their inability to create trusting relationships.As leaders, sometimes we have to tell employees when they’re not meeting expectations. Critical conversations are tough, but can actually build trust, if they are handled with kindness—meaning you actually have a desire to help an employee become their best, rather than just improving your numbers.
  4. Care. The toughest part about leading people is understanding that they are actually people—not machines. They don’t turn off when they finish their work. They move on to deal with personal responsibilities, health concerns, relationships, financial issues, and the list could go on.Great leaders understand this, and they care.

The Bible

Luke 6:35-36 says.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

The true test of kindness in leadership is being able to have a disagreement with a person, whether it is an employee, client, or outsider, and still, be kind and caring.

In our survival-of-the-fittest culture, being kind is often seen as a weakness.  It is not displayed on the television or in the movies very often, and certainly not used on popular social media sites.

But studies repeatedly show that this kind of kindness gets more result, influences more people, and leads to better outcomes.

Lead with kindness, even outrageous kindness, and experience those results for yourself.  And remember, that is the type of leader Jesus was wanting us to become over two thousand years ago.