There are words for every occasion. Some are considered polite. Others are considered profane. In business, there are three words that are often connected: weak, fear, and kind.
Many managers, new and seasoned, are afraid of being seen as weak. Being weak drives them to be harsh, inflexible, cold and insecure. These managers mean to do well by their organization. They want to ensure that employees are as productive as possible. Maximizing employee productivity is their job after all.
Another four-letter word creeps into their subconscious at this point: fear. The fear of being duped by an unscrupulous employee. The fear of failing to lead the team to achieve a challenging goal. The fear of being perceived by upper management as weak. The fear of losing their job because they are seen as a weak manager.
These managers come to believe that being kind leaves them open and vulnerable to this feared downfall. They associate being kind with full capitulation to all demands made by any employee. They believe that they cannot be kind and hold team members accountable for choices or outcomes. They don’t see being kind valued as much as being strong, focused, driven, or aggressive.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
As this article from Inc. Magazine details, being kind is the cornerstone of today’s most successful workplaces. Managers with high emotional intelligence are in the greatest demand. Those managers know how to be kind even when delivering the worst possible news.
Kindness isn’t the mark of the weak. It’s a signature attribute of highly effective managers.