February 13, 2019

In an Inc.com article titled “Science Says Kindness Can Make You a Better Leader,” journalist Todd Nordstrom makes a case for kindness. He lays out statistics to show that kindness is not only proven to increase personal happiness, but also correlates this happiness to better productivity. Nordstrom suggests three ways kindness impacts the quality of our leadership: appreciation, connection, and correction.

Appreciation – According to Nordstrom, when we are kind enough to show appreciation for the efforts of our employees, it goes farther than promotions and pay increases in inspiring our teams. Recognizing effort and achievement and celebrating success are simple demonstrations of kindness.

Connection – Kindness fosters an open way to relate to people with different ideas and perceptions than our own. When we embrace those differences and use them to collaborate for a better solution, we are creating greater success.

Correction – Nordstrom reminds us that tough conversations about lacking performance are rarely perceived as an act of kindness. But when, as leaders, we start from a place of respect and a “sincere desire to help an employee become their best,” we can shift the perspective from attacking to supportive. (To read Nordstrom’s full article, click here.)

Kindness seems as though it should be fundamental. Young children (although sometimes embarrassingly honest) are rarely intentionally unkind in their questions and statements. Yet somewhere along the way, this basic tenet of humankind can get lost.  We have witnessed leaders at the very top be rude, aggressive and downright cruel – and that creates stress, insecurity and divisiveness, none of which are productive.

A practice of candor will refresh our perspective. Candor requires honest intention and earnest respect. It is a way of communicating that honors everyone in the conversation. Candor equals kindness, even in the most challenging situations regarding the most difficult topics.