4 Myths about Kindness Leaders Must Overcome

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What qualities define great leaders?

A good argument can be made for each of the following:

  • Decisive
  • Bold
  • Daring
  • Tough
  • Resilient

But in this list I would venture that a less common but equally important quality should be included.


By kindness, I’m not referring to “niceness”. Niceness is a personality trait, (which also has a place in the world of leadership).

No, kindness is different. Kindness is a core leadership value that places the well-being of others ahead of yourself.

Kind leaders get the job done by ensuring that those they lead are well served, supported and understood.

Now, some leaders shy away from exhibiting this leadership value because they have come to believe four myths of kind leadership. If you’re going to excel in your leadership you must understand and dispel these myths.

Myth #1: If you’re kind people will take advantage of you

Being kind doesn’t mean being weak. Kind leaders are strong and hold people to account. But they do so in a way that doesn’t diminish people.

Myth #2: If you’re kind people will not be motivated to excel

People can respond to kindness with a deep desire to do their very best. Don’t be misled into thinking that motivation is the exclusive purview of the tough boss.

Myth #3: If you’re kind the organization will move too slowly

Quick decisions can be important in any organization. And being kind is absolutely no handicap when it comes to sizing up a situation, seeking input, and then making and communicating a fast decision.

Myth #4: If you’re kind you can’t make hard decisions

Perhaps no myth is more wide spread than this one. But there is no connection between being kind and the ability to make the tough call. The advantage to kind leadership is that you can communicate the tough call with sensitivity.

So as you develop your leadership, continue to be bold, daring, decisive and resilient.

But don’t forget a little kindness along the way too.

And if you find yourself thinking that kindness doesn’t belong in leadership, remember that’s just a myth.

How myths would you add to this list?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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