I believe kindness is a superpower.
What I have noticed, as I continue to do my own explorations on myself, as well as in working with others, is that when human beings don’t have a lot on their minds, their kindness just rises up.
For example, last year, when I broke my foot, on those days when I was hobbling up to the door to enter a coffee shop, I’d notice how somebody — who didn’t appear to have any thoughts distracting them — would jump up and help me; they would open the door, ask to carry something; they were being kind.
You know how most people, sitting in a cafe, they are thinking. They are in their own world. Because of this, they couldn’t see me struggling. But the minute someone was available to see me, I noticed that they were automatically moved to kindness.
As a coach, I have worked with leaders who are kind.
And I have watched the results that they produce, over the executives who don’t lead with kindness.
I see that people want to work for them, are willing to go out of their way, will follow them, will put in extra effort. I notice that if there is an issue with this leader, their employee will come together with them more quickly to resolve it.
Kindness is not always nice. Leading from kindness, in work and in life, also means that sometimes, you will need to fire somebody, end something, give consequences, hold a boundary, let a relationship go. It isn’t always this sweet, mushy thing. Kindness can have a really clear line.
By having standards, for myself and others in my life, I am being kind to myself.
I would love to see what would happen if we all explored what it would be like to lead with kindness. What would happen to stress level in the workplace? To employee satisfaction?
There is a saying, “Most people don’t leave their job, they leave their boss.”
This is often because the boss isn’t kind.
The beauty is, kindness is who we are.
What takes us out of kindness is our thinking. When we’re worried about losing our job, or not meeting results — we get scared. We believe that thinking to be true, it’s real but it may not be true. When we are believing that thinking, we are blinded. We cannot see the solutions that may be available to us.
Have you noticed how, in the face of natural disasters, people wake up. Their kindness comes oozing out, like lava coming down a mountain — and it’s so powerful.
I have a client who leads by kindness and the results we are seeing are through the roof! Her company’s profits have increased by 36 percent; employee satisfaction has increased; customer satisfaction has increased.
Recently, the New York Times published a poem by Danusha Laméris, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. What I love about this poem is how the small kindnesses are called holy. And are reminders of our connection to each other, as one human tribe.
Nye writes in her introduction: “Sometimes a poem just strikes a precise moment. ‘Small Kindnesses,’ by Danusha Laméris, feels utterly necessary for our time — a poem celebrating minor, automatic graciousness within a community, which can shine a penetrating light. It’s a catalog of small encouragements, unfolding as might a child’s palm filled with shiny stones. It almost feels like another hope we remember having. Acknowledging the modern plight of autonomy and so many separations, the poem then easily passes through them, breezing compliments and simple care.”