What does it mean to be kind?
A dictionary would tell us that kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, considerate, affectionate, gentle, and warm. Kindness is the ability to speak with words that reflect care, empathy, and a genuine concern for the well-being of others.
If empathy is walking in someone’s else shoes, kindness is carrying that person when they can no longer walk. It is empathy on steroids, when we are kind, we are engaged and tuned in to understand someone else’s experience or emotions. The resulting action translates into one of kindness.
But to some, showing kindness may be seen as a sign of weakness and naivete or even vulnerability. Still, to others, that vulnerability is seen as a strength, the power to be authentic and to lead from the heart with compassion.
Especially after two years of lockdowns, divisiveness, and intensified racial tension, we need kindness more than ever. We must interpret kindness as an act of soft courage that helps us transform feelings into concrete action. That’s why it can be one of the most vital interpersonal skills we can develop, not just as leaders, but as human beings.
To fully experience kindness, you must be willing to dive in full-heartedly and celebrate the success of someone else. It means being openly happy for the other person and willing to feel with them.
Related: Effective Time Management
Expressing kindness means you develop an awareness that others are fighting battles you can’t see and that you can help by amplifying their voice. It also means you make space for others to be vulnerable, and to make and learn from their mistakes, being ready to forgive them and support them as they rebound and try to stand on their own two feet.
Its also means telling the truth in a gentle but firm way that enables the other person to reflect and grow. It means extending smart trust built on giving and receiving truthful feedback, a critical component of a growth mindset that empowers the other person to develop into a better version of themselves.
And It isn’t just about being kind to others, it’s about being kind to yourself, treating yourself compassionately, speaking gently to yourself while affirming that you will strive to come from a place of abundance.
It is in our nature and it’s our greatest ability to nurture it in others. Today, more than ever, we all need a douse of kindness, it’s free, it makes everyone feel better, and it’s a wildly contagious love for life that can spread like wildfire.
So spread some kindness today.
Ask me how you can develop your emotional intelligence to become a more empathetic and kinder leader with my Leading with Clarity roadmap.