4 Unfair (and Untrue) Myths About Kind Leaders

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Kindness has gotten a bad rap.

For some reason, in the context of leadership, kindness has sometimes become equated with weakness, indecisiveness and ineffectiveness.

But, properly understood, true kindness is none of these things.

Kindness is a core leadership value that places the well-being of others ahead of yourself.


Kind leaders are every bit as productive, resourceful and resilient as anyone else. But they always recognize that the well-being of other people is of paramount importance, and they manage this tension with tremendous skill.

If you are going to maximize the potential of kindness into your leadership you might first have to dispel 4 unfair, and untrue, myths about kindness in leadership…


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

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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