Can Kindness and Leadership Coexist?


Michael Lloyd White, CEO of World Kindness Australia posed this question for discussion: can kindness and leadership coexist? This important question raises the issue that kindness is a weak and gullible way to be, when you are trying to lead people in a challenging world.

From my experience, leadership in flow has always been authentically kind and incredibly influential and effective. My experience with individuals and in organisations has shown me this reality over and over again.

When kindness and leadership coexist in any organisation, a culture in flow leads to optimised collaboration for intensified synergy. This creates highly sought after and valued products and services for thriving profitably and sustainably. The only way they can coexist is through establishing a secure environment built on trust and respect. There also has to be an unwavering commitment to an abundant and innovating attitude which honours the human experience and all living things.

Michael Lloyd-White responded, “Would love to see data measurable outcomes with this. Still a void in research lots of examples. We just had 240 schools in the US sign up to implementing a kindness index.”

Unkind Leadership

Unkind leadership is manipulative and exploitive by nature. It is coming from a depraved mindset that’s deprived of innovative thinking and an embrace of abundance that can include happiness for all. The is also a lack of belief in the good nature in humanity. Therefore taking from people and the environment as much as possible while creating the appearance of giving value in return is a justifiable and glorified act.

I have witnessed it with 100% consistency in countless work cultures and in relationships – and helped cultures transform from an insecure and therefore unkind state to a secure and kind state. If you don’t feel safe, you can’t afford to be kind. Your brain won’t let you because it has been conned into an anxious state assuming imminent danger. And if you have to be kind in that state, it’s to serve your survival. So it ends up driven by a self-centred and irrational agenda. This battle between the heart and the head leaves the heart unrepresented because its needs are a luxury the head cannot afford to serve.

The biggest goal here is to have the skills to critically assess your environment and be connected to the power of creating opportunities where everyone can win. A kindness index is going to reveal environments in anxious states with low scores. The self-fulfilling prophecy of an anxious state has created cultural habits of unkindness to simply cope with a worldview that has a low view of humanity.

The issue is that humanity can be bad and good and to inspire the good is to be kind in action to yourself and others at the same time – this makes kindness wise and powerful because it creates the balance of you being well and giving opportunities for others to be well with you.

Is Kindness always possible?

In the less than 1% of the time when legitimate danger is happening, self-kindness to stay alive is a natural focus. The interesting opportunity here, is that we can still be kind because as we invite someone else not to be cruel and join us in a win/win, they may choose to refuse the kind invitation, experience the unkind consequence of missing out on the value of our connection and experience the reality of their unkind choices and unkindness to themselves.

So theoretically, I cannot see how we ever have to be unkind. It’s a personal choice to be unkind to yourself and others. Unfortunately, we are so easily self-deceived and manipulated by insecure and tyrannical attitudes within ourselves and through others to justify unkindness that attracts unkindness. This creates a tidy closed loop resembling a cold and ugly existence, posing as reality.

Do you agree and are you tired of leaders out of touch with the value and power of kindness? Or do you think it is naive to believe you can be kind in the world we are in?

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