Kind Strength

Leaders must be strong.
Their leadership must be sure, steady, certain, determined, and fierce.

Their confidence needs to exceed the confidence of anyone else in the organization.

We want to follow the strong, not the weak.

We want our leaders to forge ahead, climb mountains, cross dry deserts, conquer opposition, break through barriers, and be indestructible.

Movies portray these leaders as almost invincible. General George Patton, Braveheart’s William Wallace, or Steve Jobs are some examples.

Often, the character that these leaders possess is a kind of hardness. A callous, crusty, impenetrable shell where the feelings and emotions of another person doesn’t affect them. In fact, they’re usually annoyed by the display of emotion. They swear, spit out their tobacco, and make absolute statements.

This is what a leader is.

Or so our culture tells us.

Kindness, softness, and display of feelings aren’t what you usually find in a strong leader, right?

Another myth.

The strongest leaders often have the softest hearts. The greatest leaders have a ‘kind strength.’ They have no need to demonstrate that they are in charge. That is for the insecure. They are secure enough within themselves to be a leader who considers their team, their employees, their followers in the decisions they make.

They are kind.

They are kind because they know that everyone, including themselves, has stuff in their lives. They are kind because they know that we are all humans, frail beings who need to be lifted rather than crushed; praised rather than degraded; encouraged rather than controlled. They are kind because they know that kindness breeds kindness and that what you sow you also reap.

Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and Tony Dungy are great examples of how to lead with kind strength. They were strong, resolute, and confident, yet led with a kindness and empathy that captivates and embraces those they lead and engender respect even from those who disagree with them.

And by the way, these kind and strong leaders have the most loyal followers.

Be kind.

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