Beyond all the hard data showing that kind leaders get great results, the Dalai Lama reminds us:
…because my future and yours is connected with everyone else’s. So we have to take seriously our concern for all of humanity. When we focus on our individuality, humanity inevitably suffers; each one of us will suffer.”
Our ability to be kind, to act with kindness may be severely limited by a powerful leash; a tether insidiously held by our fear. Sometimes we hear rather than see the hold of our fears. They sound like “I didn’t mean to be unkind ; I was afraid if I did xxxxx the person would not like me; I didn’t say what was necessary because I didn’t want to hurt them or make them angry or upset; I was afraid of the consequences” . Underneath each of these we hear our shame, our fear that “I am not enough. I cannot handle it”
How then do we unleash our kindness?
Have the courage to:
- Let go of unreasonable fear. Embrace Kindness, with its aligned traits of being trustworthy, compassionate and open. “Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.” Lance Secretan
- Stop justifying our fear with blame. Notice when we say “they should know better, they are lazy, they are untrustworthy, they are manipulative and unmotivated.” Acknowledge the problem, help them get clear on the way for ward, support the change. “I wonder what makes them appear so uncaring when I know they like this job. What worries them so much that they avoid certain tasks? What could help you be more successful in being the leader you imagine yourself to be? How can I help that happen?”
- Use your Curiosity with joyful abandon. It is a solution unleashing tool. By leaning in with a question you unleash your empathy and tone down your judge. Ask what is going on here? And what else and what else? What is underneath this behaviour or attitude? What can we do together to fix this.
- Be your authentic self. Not many start out to be uncaring unkind leaders – return to your original intent. Listen to your words and actions. Ask yourself how you would respond to your words if they were said to you. If the response is what you are getting – what would you tell yourself to say or do instead?