The Kind Leader Newsletter #7

Welcome to The Kind Leader Newsletter #7!

Tip #7: Ask about others!

Leaders, I have a challenge for you! Please take out a piece of paper, and for each one of your team members, write down one thing that they are passionate about outside of work, and one thing each of them is struggling with. If you find that you don’t know, don’t be surprised. Often, leaders focus solely on business in conversations and meetings and forget to actually get to know the people who work for them as … well … people! There’s an easy fix for that though! Start out each conversation and business meeting by first asking a specific question about the other person, such as “I know your son had COVID. How is he doing?”

As a leader, it’s easy to become so hyper-focused on targets, metrics and whether the organization is meeting its goals, that you forget the people who work for you are human beings. With family, friends, passions, struggles and challenges outside of the organization. Starting out conversations and meetings with specific questions about people’s lives shows that you care about people not simply for what value they bring to the organization, but because they are valued and valuable human beings.

What do you think?

What do you know about the struggles and challenges your team members are going through?

How often do you ask about others’ lives outside of work?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

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This week’s Kind Leader research focuses on defining kindness, compassion and empathy!

As we discussed in The Kind Leader Newsletter #5, Emotional Intelligence is as important for leaders as business acumen! This week, we’re going to dive a little deeper into the difference between empathy (part of Emotional Intelligence), compassion and kindness, and how practicing kindness can help leaders become more empathetic and compassionate.

Empathy: Empathy, like compassion, is based in feelings. For most of us, the easiest explanation of empathy is the effort to understand someone else’s experience by thinking about what it would be like to be in their place and to feel like they are feeling.

Compassion: Compassion takes empathy to another level of feeling. As Hope Arnold, LCSW, MA states: “Compassion is characterized by the qualities of sympathy, empathy, and concern. It emphasizes nonjudgmental thinking toward self and others, validation, distress tolerance, and acceptance of what is occurring. Compassion is oriented toward healing, alleviating suffering and acknowledging that all humans suffer.” (https://blogs.psychcentral.com/radical-hope/2020/06/the-difference-between-kindness-and-compassion/)

Kindness: Kindness is active. It’s not just a feeling, but a way of thinking, speaking and acting towards others, and yourself. By thinking, speaking and acting kindly, we improve both our ability to be kind…and to feel empathy and compassion, through our actions towards others and ourselves. Because ‘doing changes thinking’, acting kindly is a great way to help you, as a leader, develop empathy and compassion towards those who work for you.

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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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