Be more kind

April 5, 2019

A good friend of mine, and someone who is also a great leader and a rare talent, recently introduced me to the music of Frank Turner and a song entitled “Be More Kind”. The friend is Ben Watts the General Counsel at Kent County Council (@benwatts2)

I believe that kindness and care make the biggest difference to our ability to perform at our best.

I believe that any process, policy, structure or strategy will be improved if kindness and care are placed at the heart of our workplace experience.

I believe we fail ourselves and our colleagues when we are not kind and do not care.

The most important personal relationships in our lives suffer when kindness and caring are absent. Our work is a place full of personal relationships, a place where we can spend most of our waking hours; these are surely important relationships for us, so why on earth would we think we can perform well at work without kindness and caring.

The absence of kindness and care suggests the absence of leadership. Leadership is no more, and no less, than unconditional kindness and caring. It is not an abstract concept. It is not transactional. Leadership is the humanity we were born with applied for and on behalf of those who need us to act in the moment. Leadership is felt.

We can employ people for skills, experience and expertise; we can align their skills, experience and expertise to business priorities, and we can give people the tools to be more efficient. However, it will never be a good place to work unless it is an environment in which kindness is encouraged and we care for each other.

We talk a lot about investment when we discuss becoming more efficient, more productive and more successful; but if that investment is confined to infrastructure, products and competitiveness we can only take our business so far. Investment that does not include an investment in kindness is a false prospectus.

We can build the perfect palace, but if it is not brought to life with kindness and care, it is truly a perfect mausoleum.

We can drive forward, we can be agile, we can value high performance, and we can innovate and transform, and I promise I am not knocking the vocabulary or the earnest claims. I am only calling out that without common purpose, thoughtfulness, kindness and care, none of it matters. We are people, we need to feel valued, useful and validated. We need to care, we need to be more kind.

Take care.


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