“Kindness in leadership has great power.”
Dame Cilla Snowball (great name!) in a Management Today article about what she has learnt about leadership over her career. She was previously leader of advertising giant AMV BBDO, and has worked with many high profile and inspiring leaders, including Richard Curtis of Comic Relief, Jamie Oliver, Dame Carolyn McCall of ITV  and former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King. She sums up her view of leadership in the following way;

” A good leader inspires us to do better things. And a good leader is kind.  No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all.’’

We know from our own research that 80% of us have a personal value around kindness – so bringing that to work should feel natural. However research by DDI, reported in Forbes, found that only 40% of frontline managers were either proficient or strong in empathy.  Is this about managers wearing a ‘boss’ mask at work that stops their natural kindness coming through?

There is loads of research and evidence that shows that kindness at work works.
Glassdoor listed the 14 companies with the best cultures, the top company as described by one of their staff:  “The leadership team really cares about the people and there is a huge investment of both time and money into the culture and taking care of staff.’’
The HBR article “The Hard Data on Being a Nice Boss’’ shares loads of research and results including:

  • “… leaders who project warmth – even before establishing their competence – are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill.’’
  • A kind culture  “can even help mitigate stress. While our brains are attuned to threats (whether the threat is a raging lion or a raging boss), our brains stress reactivity is significantly reduced when we observe kind behaviour…..”

According to Dame Cilla, knowing your team and what makes them tick is at the core of kind leadership, knowing their  “…story, ambition, their fears.”  She also lists a top 10 of what makes good leadership.  Alongside being game changers, able to grasp nettles, make tough decisions, getting results, taking on big workloads and having courage are …..

  • They love people and build rock solid relationships. Business is about relationships. They are relentless encouragers. They get results in an environment of light not heat. They are always optimistic. They don’t do everything themselves. They surround themselves with talented individuals they trust to offer solutions. They set the vision and determine what needs to be achieved but they trust the people around them to make it happen.
  • They have courage. They are not afraid to admit their mistakes.
  • They have values.
  • They listen. They ask questions. They want to know what you think.
  • They are kind. Kindness should never be misinterpreted for weakness; kind leaders have a steadfast belief that the good guys will win.

#BeYourselfAtWork and bring your natural kindness.