By Sonia McDonald, Keynote Speaker, Author of Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It!, and CEO & founder of McDonald Inc. and LeadershipHQ and Mum.
Kindness – “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”
I am concerned about how we are leading today. I am seeing a lack of kindness around the world. We need to change this. We can change this. Leading with kindness (and courage) matter today more than ever before.
“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” – Eric Hoffer
It became a very long day on a Saturday as I had travelled from early morning to fly down to Sydney for a magazine interview. I was tired and I knew the interview was going to be tough, vulnerable and empowering however for some reason I felt uneasy about it. I had to share my journey and as much as I knew it would help others, it was challenging.
It ended up being a wonderful day working with a team of remarkable and caring women.
This story is about how I see the world of leadership and why we must practice kindness and courage today.
I had to take a late flight home as I was juggling my daughter and I was exhausted after the day.
I was waiting in line to board a flight and for some reason the amount of people boarding the seemed distracted. Maybe it was the first time I noticed.
I think out of the hundreds of people boarding this full flight, around five people acknowledged or even said thank you to the flight attendants checking us in.
I like to board last as I am not a fan of flying and as I handed the flight attendant my boarding pass, she said welcome on board Ms McDonald and I smiled and said, how are you?. She looked at me in surprise and said she was exhausted as it was a long day. I laughed and said I know how you feel however I told her how beautiful she looked. She thanked me profusely.
Soon we were in the air and I took out my laptop. The same flight attendant and another who was assisting her served us food and drinks. I was engrossed in my emails and when she got to me, I made sure I closed everything down and turned my focus was on them with a smile. I said thank you so much for my drink and food. They both stopped and looked at me and said do you know how often people show kindness, gratitude and manners – almost never.
I was truly surprised.
Then they said here take another wine for later and thanked me for my kindness.
I started to reflect on this encounter and wondered why this is so? Are we too busy? Too distracted? Do we not see the importance of kindness? Don’t we care?
How would we feel if it was our child checking us onto a flight and we did not show kindness or respect? I used this analogy in our programs and coaching around how we speak and treat people at work – we are all someone’s child.
Don’t we want our children and future leaders to be in a world that is kind and courageous. It is up to us today to lead this.
I hear and see more unkinder stories of how people treat each other at work and in life than I do kind stories. We need to change this and lead the way! This will change our world no matter how small our words and actions.
I am not perfect on kindness every single moment of every single day. Life does get in the way. I do get busy. I do get distracted. However, I make sure every interaction is dealt with kindness even during those times I need to be strong.
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I know as a kind leader that my actions and words make a great impact. A big one.
In turn, kindness is not a weakness as you can still be strong and be kind as a leader.
My mantra is to always be a Brave and Kind Leader and empower brave and kind leaders around me and across the world. Research had shown that Kindness is a strength for leaders and that being kind makes us happier and our employees more productive!
My 7 laws for being a Kind Leader –
1. Kindly be Present – The best gift you can give yourself and others is to be truly there.
2. Kindly be Compassionate – Be kind to yourself first and foremost and compassionate to others.
3. Kindly show you Care – People want to be cared about and by showing you care about others at work and in the community makes a difference.
4. Kindly show Gratitude – Always saying thank you to everyone who did something that you are grateful for whether it’s your team for doing great work or cafe worker making your coffee.
5. Kindly help Others – If you someone is struggling or needs support of guidance, offer your help.
6. Kindly show Respect – Accept everyone for who they are no matter what and respect them as human beings.
7. Kindly be Kind – Ralph Waldo Emerson may have said it best. “You can not do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
What are your thoughts?
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