Archive for April, 2009

Joey Stanford

Leading with Kindness

I did some analysis work for a group in Canonical last November and December.  It was really interesting for me and a rewarding experience but as I was writing and revising my final report I kept feeling more and more uneasy about the way I articulated my findings. I realized a bit too late that I still had some New York attitude left in me.  It’s good to be engaged and excited about what you are doing, especially when it helps others, but to do so with an aggressive posture is not.  I’ve been trying to cultivate “champa”, “Loving Kindness” in Tibetan, and “Sheshin”, “Awareness” in Tibetan,  and after all was said and done this report showed me I had more room for improvement.

One of the nice things about practicing and leading with kindness at work is that it makes your workplace a better, more enjoyable, and more productive place. One study suggests a 30% improvement in productivity.

Last night I saw a wonderful show on PBS called “Leading from Kindness”.  It’s based on the book “Leading with Kindness: How Good People Consistently Get Superior Results”. The show really resonated with me and what I’ve slowly been learning over my career.  I do believe that cultivating this style of leadership is essential in engaging and retaining superior employees as well as transforming organizations into very high performance teams.

I’ve had good luck practicing this style on my direct reports in Canonical.

The only caveat seems to be that folks who have never been in an organization that respects them as individuals can sometimes confuse kindess with weakness.  When you see this mistake being made, a gentle nudge seems to resolve it.

My hope is that others can benefit from this approach.