Leadership legacies are built more on kindness than they are on accomplishments.
Kindness is action-oriented, and is an essential component to influencing lasting impact.
Think of the qualities you have found in leaders who have had the greatest personal impact in your life.
I’m sure that words like courageous, decisive, and visionary are somewhere on your list.
But whenever I’ve asked that question, it’s been rare that the word “kind” hasn’t also shown up.
So, what are the qualities that make up kind leadership?
John Maxwell has shared that, early in his leadership, he made about a dozen critical life decisions that would mark his path throughout his life. The rest of his life, he would only have to manage those decisions made early on.
Kind leaders take this approach.
They decide early on that, presented with the opportunity to share an encouraging word, provide a helping hand, or coach someone needing assistance, they would automatically step up. There is no need to revisit that decision each time such an opportunity presents itself; the decision has already been made.
Kind leaders operate at a measured, unhurried pace that allows margin for acts of kindness.
Many years ago I found myself racing across town in order to make an appointment. I had allowed myself far too little time between meetings.
Along the way I came across a woman whose car was stalled with some sort of mechanical problem. As much as I genuinely wanted to stop and help, I simply had no time.
Then and there I made a vow to avoid scheduling kindness out of my day.
Kindness needs margin.
At a funeral, many people will say to the grief-stricken widow, “If there’s anything I can do, please call me.”
But kind leaders are different.
These are the ones who simply show up at her house, unannounced, with their lawnmower and take care of the yard.
Remember, kindness is not weakness. It takes enormous strength and discipline to develop this quality.
So strive to be a kind leader.
Because your leadership legacy will have more to do with your kindness than with your accomplishments.