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The Kind Leader Newsletter #5



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Love Yourself!

This week, I’ve heard a lot of people judging themselves harshly. “It didn’t work out as I thought that it would, even though I did my best. Why am I so useless?” “I finally got up the courage to try something new and no one liked it. I wish I’d never tried it.” “I chose to take care of myself instead of others and it seems too self-centered.” And over and over again “I’m a failure”. Thing is, no one needs to judge themselves so harshly. We all make mistakes. We try new things and they don’t work out as planned. That doesn’t mean we failed…or that we are “failures”, even if we don’t act as we want to. It means we are human. So reflect. Then move forwards. Because opportunities to think, speak and act differently are already here! So, instead of focusing on the past, and judging yourself for past mistakes, look forward, take what you’ve learned from your reflection and try again. We have a lifetime to practice! Be kind to others, be kind to yourself. No matter how many times it takes you can simply try again!

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The Kind Leader Newsletter #4

Welcome to The Kind Leader Newsletter #4!

Tip #4: Let others go first. 

As a team member, have you ever been excited to go to your one-on-one meeting with your manager, only to find that fifty-five out of the sixty minutes are taken up by them telling you all about their work instead of listening to you? Even when the stated purpose of the meeting is to hear how you are doing and what YOU want to talk about? As a team member, you probably felt disappointed and that you weren’t treated kindly. Plus, your questions and concerns may not have been addressed.

Those in leadership roles often develop the habit of speaking first. However, letting others speak first gives leaders both the opportunity to hear what people have to say, and also to make them feel cared for and important.

As a leader, letting others go first also applies to situations where people are entering and exiting the room, getting seated and lining up for meals. Although people may defer to your title and usher you to the front of the line, letting others go first role shows the respect that you have for your team members.

Letting others go first doesn’t diminish your leadership, it models caring, respect and kindness.

What do you think?

How often do you let others speak first?

What other situations could you let others go first in?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

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This week’s Kind Leader Tip was inspired by IT Leader Craig Delmage.

Here are some other suggestions from Craig for kind ways to meet with team members:

When I have my regular one on one meetings with my team members, I always let them go first – discuss anything that is on their mind or that they want to discuss with me. It can be business or personal. By letting them go first, it sends a signal that what they have to say is important to me. I may prompt them with some initial open-ended questions such as “How are things going for you?” or “How is your new baby?” or “Are you managing work/life balance ok?”

At the end of their items I will check in with them with questions such as “Have I made any decisions lately that you have disagreed with?” to make sure that we are in synch.

If there is time left in our meeting, then I may bring up any items that I wish to cover. Overall, I find that this approach works very well, and I have become closer to my team members – both on a work and personal front – as a result.

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Thanks, Craig, for sending your Kind Leader tip!

And thank you all for reading the Kind Leader Newsletter! Please send me your thoughts and experiences practicing kind leadership so I can use them in The Kind Leader book and pass them on to others in the Newsletter!

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Be Kind to Yourself!

It’s Saturday. My Creativity Day. I’m so happy it’s here as it’s been a super-stressful week. My son finally recovered from COVID-19, but Big Karma, my dog had a small seizure so I had to take him to the vet. More accurately, Big Karma had to visit the vet on his own because we couldn’t go in with him. He’s an old dog, so that just added stress. Even more stressful, I have a number of friends dealing with serious non-COVID health issues. Then there are the wild-fires threatening so many in the western USA (many of our Women in Lean members are in California, Oregon and Washington), and remembrances for 9/11. Plus continued systemic racism and election worries. So this morning, I just couldn’t wait for my Creativity Day, because drawing, writing, sewing and listening to music are all things that help me reduce stress. And doing those things are ways to be kind to myself. I’m conscious that everything I described above isn’t unique to me. During this time, everyone is under extra stress. All the regular stresses of life go on. Compounded by COVID. So this morning, to reduce my own stress, I drew this drawing that I hope will help you reduce your stress. And to remind everyone that in these tough times, and always, please be kind to yourself. And ask for help if needed!

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The Kind Leader Newsletter #2

Welcome to The Kind Leader Newsletter #2!

Tip #2: Give people your undivided attention.  

As a leader, you’re probably pretty busy. It can be tempting to multi-task by checking your phone or computer while talking with people. Especially if you feel like the person is ‘taking too long to get to the point’ or if you think you have more important things to do. However, constantly looking down at your phone, your computer or smartwatch isn’t a kind way to act. Constantly checking electronics and looking away makes people feel like what they are saying, and who they are, is unimportant.

So, whether you are talking with someone one-on-one, or you’re in a meeting, please make sure to give people your full and undivided attention.

Make eye contact, lean forward into the conversation, put your phone away and shut off your computer. Even if you think that what the person is telling you isn’t most important to you. Because chances are, what they’re telling you is most important to them.

As a leader, one of the kindest ways to show people how important they are is to give them your full and undivided attention.

That’s this week’s Kind Leader newsletter!

What do you think…

How often do you check your devices while someone is talking to you or in meetings?

What can you do to remind yourself not to look at your phone, computer or watch ?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

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The Kind Leader Newsletter #3

Welcome to The Kind Leader Newsletter #3!

Tip #3: Find something to compliment in each person’s work.  

Twice last week, someone sent me something they had written to review. “Poke holes in it”, they said. “I want you to tell me what could be improved!” After reading both documents, here’s what I replied: “Your document looks great! Well thought out and written. Why don’t you just go ahead and send it out?!” A short while later, I received a version of the same, surprised response from both people: “Wow’” they said. “It’s been a long time since someone’s complimented my work! I’m so used to negative feedback I didn’t remember how great it feels to get a compliment!”

As a leader, it’s easy to forget how much weight your words carry. And what a huge difference your kind words and compliments mean to people.

So, even if the work your team member has done isn’t exactly as you imagined it, make sure you take time to actively and genuinely find something to compliment in it. If you aren’t used to doing this, you will find that it takes time, and practice. You’ll need to slow down and think about your team member’s effort and feelings first. And, if the work really misses the mark, you’ll have to ask yourself why, and how you can help them do better next time.

As a leader, please remember, your words stay in people’s minds and hearts for a long time. Please make sure they are kind ones.

What do you think? What do you do?

How often do you compliment your team members’ work?

How can you practice responding kindly, even if the result isn’t exactly what you expected?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

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This week’s Kind Leader research update

Like anything else we want to get better at, being a Kind Leader takes practice. And that’s not just my opinion, it’s science. In her article “Kindness and Brain: What is the Impact of Kindness in Brain Functioning” Daniela Silva shares that every kind act changes the brain in a number of ways including:

  • Increasing the production of ‘feel-good’ hormones dopamine and oxytocin in the brain of both the person who acts with kindness and the person who receives it
  • Activating the ‘reward’ system of the brain to produce feelings of happiness and satisfaction in both the person acting kindly and the person receiving the kindness
  • Changing the functioning of the prefrontal cortex to increase the number of neural connections allowing neural pathways and habits of kindness to form

So, the best way to start being a Kind Leader, is actually to start! And then to deliberately practice acting kindly on a regular basis. Finding something to genuinely compliment in each team member’s work is a great place to start your practice! It may feel strange at first, but, as science tells us, it will soon become a habit!

Daniela Silva. “Kindness and Brain: What is the Impact of Kindness in Brain Functioning”. EC Neurology 5.4 (2017): 146-148.

That’s this week’s Kind Leader newsletter!

Look forward to seeing you next week!

 

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Join Our #VoteForKindness Campaign!

It’s Saturday! My Creativity Day! I’m super excited because my new Vote For Kindness yard signs were delivered yesterday! I put one up in my yard, and I’ve already had a number of neighbors stop by to ask for one! That makes me super happy! You might be asking yourself, “It’s your Creativity Day! Why are you posting about kindness? What do Creativity and Kindness have do with each other?” A lot! Creating a kinder world is a huge part of my purpose! So I’m using my creativity intentionally to do that: coming up with the idea for a #VoteForKindness ‘campaign’, designing the actual signs, and creating fun ways to involve people in the campaign (like this photo with me and Big Karma – everyone loves a dog picture!) As human beings, we’re all creative! And we can use our creativity to solve problems like climate crisis, poverty, and systemic racism. And to create a kinder world. That’s what I’m doing on my Creativity Day! How about you?
#Creativity #Kindness #problemsolving

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Covid-19 Parent University: Download Free Presentation of Helpful Hints!

The Love and Kindness Project Foundation is proud to sponsor COVID-19 Parent University, a series of one-hour online learning forums and connected communities to bring parents and teachers together to create kind, positive, remote learning experiences. COVID-19 Parent University is the brainchild of our very own Foundation Secretary Alefiyah Tawawalla, and led by collaboratively and cooperatively by parents and teachers working together.

The first one took place on Monday, August 31, 2020. You can download a copy of the Powerpoint here:

COVID -19 Parent University

We will keep you updated on future dates that you will be able to attend a COVID-19 Parent University session in person!

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The Kind Leader Newsletter

The Kind Leader Newsletter #1

Welcome to the Kind Leader Newsletter!

As a Kind Leader Newsletter subscriber, each week you’ll receive information on the research that I’m doing and updates on interviews and insights that I’m having as I write my new book The Kind Leader: A Practical Guide to Leading with Kindness.

You’ll also get a Practical Tip to use immediately and share with others. Because everyone can start leading with kindness right now!

Tip #1: Being kind is a great stress reducer!

There’s a lot of stress going around lately. With all the changes in work from COVID-19, layoffs and job losses, worries about health of family members and friends, and anxiety about politics and elections. Tempers are frayed and it’s easy to think, speak and act unkindly.

As a leader, you can help reduce the stress of people that you lead (and your own) by speaking and acting kindly. Ask people how they and their family are doing. Then take the time to listen fully to their answer. Don’t check your phone or look at your watch. Look them in the eye and pay attention. If there is help you can offer, offer it. If there isn’t, just simply taking the time to listen is a great – and kind – way to help!

That’s this week’s Kind Leader newsletter!

What do you think…

How do you and your leaders show kindness to help reduce stress?

What do you think leaders can do to speak and act more kindly to reduce team members’ stress?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

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