Effective leaders are kind and likeable
Kindness is an important leadership trait. People in executive positions in an organisation don’t get to where they are by being cold and difficult. In a survey of 51,836 leaders, only a small percentage (one in every 2,000) were rated at the bottom quartile in terms of likability despite being in the top quartile for overall leadership effectiveness. To be a leader, one must first and foremost be kind and likeable.
Some acts of kindness that can increase a leader’s likability include:
- Deepening positive emotional connections with others
- Displaying integrity consistently
- Acting as a coach, mentor and teacher
- Being less competitive and more cooperative
- Inspiring those around you
- Making an effort to change when given feedback
- Sharing your vision for the future
Kindness breeds creativity
Creativity is not something that happens by luck or accident. Multiple studies show that respectfully engaging with other members of the organisation can enhance creativity for individuals and teams.
Being kind to your colleagues is a form of “respectful engagement” defined by researchers as “conveying presence, communicating affirmation, effective listening and supportive communication.” This helps to facilitate creative behaviour as people who display kindness form more favourable social networks in the workplace, and better process relational information to develop more innovative solutions. Creativity, in turn, is a crucial soft skill that will keep you relevant in the dynamic world of work.
Your reputation is your resume
Kindness is far from being just a one-time act. It is easy to develop a bad reputation at work by being rude, taking credit for someone else’s work, or being difficult to work with. How you consistently treat others in the organisation over time forms the building blocks of your reputation.
Acts of kindness such as giving credit where it is due or recognising others’ strengths may not appear to be directly linked to your work capabilities in the immediate term, but will become an important extension of your resume in the long run. If your boss or co-worker had offered consolation when you were sick, or congratulated you during important events or milestones such as your birthday, wedding or newborn, you would know best the kind of impact that kindness can have.
Kindness is its own reward – but it also can prove to be a most valuable skill in your career journey. Be kind, and you might also be hired and promoted.
This article is contributed by Manpower Singapore.