4 Myths about Kindness Leaders Must Overcome

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Updated from January 31, 2014 post

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”.

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.


  1. Another myth is: If you’re kind, people will take over your church. You have to protect the church from people.

    The truth is: The church doesn’t belong to you. And when you allow people freedom to speak from their heart as prompted by the Spirit during the Sunday church service, amazing things begin to happen. People step into their own calling and maturity and become dependent on Christ in them, rather than on a human minister.

  2. Thanks for the input Steve.

    The idea of “people taking over ‘your church’ is a powerful one. Suggested reading on the topic is Gordon MacDonald’s “Who Stole My Church”.

    As for people speaking from their heart during the service, I would agree, so long as the congregation is of such a size that this can be accommodated. I’ve seen this attempted in larger gatherings with poor results. (people on the far side of the room can’t hear what’s being said, etc).

    But the central premise is sound; As leaders, or as congregants, we must understand that it is not our church. We are stewards of it.

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