I wrote a post on Facebook the other day, “If you have had a really great leader in your life, tell me what they did that made them stand out to you.”
Immediately, people of all generations started telling stories of influential leaders in their lives. There was one attribute that rang true for ever leader mentioned in the monsoon of comments. The leader who influenced them the most…was kind.
People were not telling stories about a leader that increased company profits year after year. They were not talking about someone who made a name for themselves in the industry. No one mentioned a person’s impact on them because of all the diplomas and awards they had sitting on a dusty shelf in their office. There wasn’t a single story about a leader who made everyone else feel like they were beneath them.
Think about that for a minute.
If you want to retain more employees, if you want higher employee engagement and if you want to increase trust, respect and influence with your people, make the conscious choice to be kind.
Kindness Breeds Influence
John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence.”
Influence is somewhat of a business buzzword these days so I wanted to look up the official definition:
Influence: the capacity to have an effect on the character,
development or behavior of someone or something
Leaders have the power to transform lives and businesses. But, just as Maxwell said, in order to lead you have to have influence with people. I believe to my core that you create deep, long-term influence with people by showing kindness. I am a word-nerd, so let’s define kindness:
Kindness: having a friendly or generous nature or attitude
Would your people say you have a friendly or generous nature or attitude? If you are unsure or know the answer is a definite “no”, then your starting point to becoming a more successful woman in business starts with choosing to be more kind.
If you are thinking this is a bunch of fluff, I want you to describe an influential leader in your life. Does your description of them include how they were generous to you in some way? Did they teach you something, give their time and impart their knowledge? Maybe he or she helped you in some way…recommended you for an opportunity or gave you just the right advice when you needed it? Did they make you simply feel valuable? In most cases, the answer to one or all of these questions is “yes.” That just proves the point that when you show kindness to your people, you create influence with them.
You won’t always feel like being kind. But you shouldn’t always act how you feel. If you want to be a more successful woman in business then you have to choose to take immediate massive action to show more kindness to your people.
Be an Attractive Leader
Your leadership success is more significantly impacted by who you are than what you look like. Outward beauty may get you in the door initially, but inner beauty will attract and enrich long term professional relationships.
As human beings, we can sense whether someone’s intentions are good or bad. If you try to use kind acts to manipulate, you will lose. But when you realize the responsibility you have as a leader to help nurture and guide your followers and you choose to own the tool of kindness to build others up, inevitably, you will win.
In life and in business, you will attract what you put out. If you want to attract success, help others become better. You can attract positivity by consistently showing people the brighter side. If you want to attract good people, choose to always be kind.
My challenge to you today, whether you are a man or a woman in business, is to shift your focus to your responsibility to care for your people. Go out of your way to do something deeply kind for them today.