Leading with Kindness



One of the best bosses that I ever had, knew how to motivate me by using sympathy and kindness. As a new employee at the time, my wife was pregnant with our first child but was unfortunately suffering from extreme nausea known as hyperemesis gravidarum which would cause her to frequently be in and out of the hospital. You can imagine my mind sometimes being distracted at work because I was worrying about my sick pregnant wife.


One day, my boss looked at me and said something to me that would ignite a fire of loyalty and motivation to succeed and work hard for him. He said to me “what are you still doing here at work?, go home to your wife and be with your family.” It was only half day and already my boss was telling me to finish work early and go home to my wife. Since then I knew I had a boss who cared about me.


After hearing those words, I became a different man, I couldn’t stop telling my wife that day how awesome and kind my boss was. I can remember going to work the next day feeling more motivated and driven to win and succeed in my role. I wanted to do it as way of expressing gratitude to my boss. My behavior and determination changed. I would show up to work earlier everyday, go the extra mile for my customers, and was always keen to be the first person to volunteer to do any task or job that our team needed done.


Unfortunately, In contrast I have also had a boss who did not show me the same level of kindness and understanding. I remember one day, my wife was sick that entire week and for some reason had contacted me and begged that I take her to the doctors. She was so sick that she couldn’t drive herself, so I asked my boss if I could finish work early because my sick wife needed me to take her to the doctors. M y boss did not even look at me but he said in his annoyed tone of voice, “No. Tell your wife to toughen up.” He said this loud in front of everyone in the room. You can imagine that instead of feeling embarrassed, I felt angry, insulted and demotivated.


In spite of the two different bosses that I have had, they both taught me something very important about leadership, kindness is one of the best ways to motivate someone to be loyal, succeed and excel.


The following are some ways you can further develop your kindness towards others:


  • Be supportive and understanding

  • Actually look at the person and listen to them when they are talking to you

  • Be mindful of what you say and how you speak to others

  • Get to know your colleagues personally and learn what matters them

  • Treat everyone with warmth and respect

  • Invite someone to lunch with you

  • Don’t make it a big deal if someone makes a screw up

  • Celebrate milestones and achievements

  • Genuinely compliment someone


You do not have to do anything grand to make someone feel special. Sometimes it is as simples as a smile or complimenting someone on a job well done.


ACTION: Plan and DO something kind for someone this week.

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