Written by: Tatjana Gaspar, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
The model of kindness in leadership is nothing new in theory, but apparently not yet well-known or widely applied in practice at all levels. As we are witnessing a multitude of transformations around us that are happening at an ever-increasing speed, it is good to pause and reflect from time to time, asking ourselves: Where am I going? What do I wish for? How can I make an impact amidst all the transformations? What kind of personalities are needed to lead in today’s world? How can I be such a leader? How do I integrate the concept of kindness into my life and what does it mean for me going forward?
I decided to write about kindness leadership after feeling inspired by trend researcher Oona Horx Strathern’s latest book “The Kindness Economy” and politician Jacinda Ardern’s recent book “This Much I Know is True”. Strathern presents options for kinder economic and social behavior with the aim of salvaging our planet and our future life in the process. Ardern is a strong advocate for overcoming differences through shared values and connectivity with the aim of salvaging our societies and souls in the process.
One could say that, in the evolving landscape of leadership paradigms, a new approach has emerged that places kindness at the forefront. It doesn’t erase or diminish existing modern leadership values and principles but rather complements them.
Historically, kindness was rarely associated with leadership – at least not in politics or workplaces. Based on their value systems, different cultures, and societies nowadays have very diverse views on how a credible and competent leader should behave or show authority. Therefore, not every person might understand right away that kindness is not a synonym for weakness, the absence of assertiveness and resolve, or the lack of authority. It does not mean that someone is a softie.
When associated with compassion and open-mindedness, kindness projects a strong signal of self- confidence. Only mentally balanced leaders allow themselves to be kind because they are deeply aware of their inner strength, which they uphold through discipline, self-reflection, and healthy routines. They are straightforward, engaged, and respectful of the opinions, needs, and emotions of others while recognizing their own accountability. They never lose sight of the bigger vision and show genuine concern for the well-being of both the individuals and the collective. Their charisma is firmly grounded in their humanity and humility.
Kind leaders are also characterized by their profound sense of empathy, which extends beyond the professional realm of success and profitability. By recognizing the uniqueness of each individual, kind leaders create a culture of trust and openness. At its core, kindness leadership places equal importance on fostering productive relationships and nurturing a supportive, inclusive spirit, thus inspiring others to surpass themselves, grow, and shine.
Why is this so important? Not only because every individual wants to be recognized and encouraged.
But also, because a greater sense of belonging and trust is the environment where collective intelligence can flourish, and where a variety of perspectives deriving from an open dialogue can lead to more robust decision-making. Kind leaders understand the positive impact this can have on any organization or environment that aspires to thrive.
If you want to become a champion of kindness leadership but feel slightly overwhelmed at the thought of it, I recommend that you first take a deep dive into your own value system. Do it preferably with the professional support of an external coach, someone unbiased who will guide you and ask the right questions. Imagine yourself diving and finding your personal treasure chest of values at the bottom of the sea. Examine them all carefully and make a list. You have three baskets at your disposal. Decide for each of your values in which basket it belongs. Basket 1 is for those values that serve their purpose and should be kept. Basket 2 is for those that have been neglected and require some polishing and finetuning. Basket 3 is for those that are outdated and should be discarded once and for all.
Now, your focus is defined: In basket 2, you will work on how to develop and enrich your human skillset. In basket 3, your focus will be on techniques to avoid falling into the traps of counterproductive beliefs and behavior. Rest assured that the work you will do in this process of embracing change for the benefit of yourself and others is the best and most sustainable investment that you can wish for. Good luck! Or rather – let’s go!
Tatjana Gaspar, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Tatjana Gaspar is a certified Systemic Coach and Online Trainer who uses methods that focus on the clients’ individual goals, thus aiming at improving their business or life situation. She is also the CEO of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland, where she organizes events, hosts webinars and is responsible for operational and financial issues. Before coaching, she spent 20 years in international wealth management and leadership positions with different banks in Zurich. Initially, Tatjana obtained a Degree in Hispanic and Russian Literature and History from the University of Geneva. She is a firm believer in life-long learning and fluent in seven languages.