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Growing Leaders: Why Kindness is no longer Weakness in the Office – By Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S

Hello Reader. This week I wanted to visit with the growing leader who works in the business world or who bridges the business and non-profit or ministry worlds.

When I worked in corporate I used to feel like a fraud. Part of who I am was right at home in the business world while the rest of me felt like it had to stay at home. I wanted to bring into the office my idealistic self that walks on the bright side, is easily compassionate, and has a slightly irreverent sense of humor, but it just didn’t feel…welcome.

There was a time when only having a sense of humor was slightly at home in the business world. For those of you just entering the work world, maybe you have been experiencing either a slightly similar experience or maybe you feel welcome to be yourself but are missing the piece that allows for productive work and respectful co-workers.

In my past I resigned to being work-self and rest-of-me-self. Then several years ago a mentor had me slow down, an old friend caught up with me, and a spiritual director spoke into my life. They all said basically the same thing: Why are you capping yourself? The future of business belongs to the truly authentic. Now is the time to let yo’self shine. I began to allow myself to bring my full self into the workplace and actually saw my client base grow.

It’s true. Kindness, vulnerability and authenticity are no longer seen as weakness in the business world. In fact, applying these principles is a model for innovative leaders.

 

How does this model work? It starts with understanding and applying kindness.

Kindness is not just being nice. Kindness means showing encouragement and enthusiasm. In practice the principle of applying kindness looks like 1) inviting the “stupid question”, 2) offering help without judgment and 3) enabling creative thinking by actually caring for those you work with to change the landscape. Real kindness includes being vulnerable and authentic enough to connect with your true self and with others while kicking it in the workplace.

“Leaders who foster an environment of vulnerability know that they aren’t creating weakness. Quite the opposite – they challenge people to stretch themselves, demand interpersonal courage, take on new challenges, and model outsized poise and resilience in the face of adversity.” Says Rachel Mendelowitz, managing partner at McChrystal Group.

Kindness does not mean not doing your job or slacking off to talk with co-workers. It also doesn’t mean expecting to get paid for work you aren’t doing to the best of your ability. Real kindness includes a depth of integrity and honor that is seen through your authenticity. An authentic self is one that is connected to their own identity through integrity and honor.

 

Applying the principles of kindness, vulnerability and authenticity not only let you bring you to work but also increase the level of workplace enthusiasm.

People who like where they work and believe they are cared for will talk more openly about the product they help to provide. When passive networking like this occurs, the guest experience and employee experience will rise as well. Happy office means better guest care. If you don’t provide a model for increasing employee enthusiasm your guest won’t be excited or enthused about your product either.

“Your guest experience can never rise above the level of your employee enthusiasm.”–Joel Manby, CEO Herschend Family Entertainment and Author of Love Works.

 

As we apply the principles of authenticity we can consider the following 5 items in practice:

Being 1) patient—demonstrate self-control in difficult situations; 2) trusting—place confidence in those around you; 3) unselfish—think of yourself less and look to serve those around you; 4) truthful—define reality corporately and individually; 5) forgiving—release the grip of the grudge; and 5) dedicated—stick to your values in all circumstances.

 

I must say I much prefer the model I’ve embraced.

 

I know this isn’t necessarily innovative but I do hope it is empowering.

 

Now IS the time to let YOU shine in your daily work.

 

  • Which of these practical applications could work for you today?
  • Do you have a challenge with employee or office enthusiasm?
  • Could your guest experience use a boost?
  • How does the principle of real kindness hit you especially when you consider it includes appropriate vulnerability, authenticity, honor and integrity?
  • How has being kind, appropriately vulnerable or true-to-you been embraced in your workplace?
  • If your current office culture is not welcoming to this model, how could you begin to slowly turn the titanic with your influence? (see my post on Turning The Titanic for more on this)

 

 

Connect with me and let me know how it goes!

 

Warmly,

Liz

 

Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com  or www.renue.me

 

Photo Credits:

Photo from Pexels.com, Graphic on Canva

Originally posted on Stillettos on the Glass Ceiling, a Forbes Top 100 Best Career Website, http://stilettosontheglassceiling.com/

 

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