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Being A Better Leader In The Workplace

Using Kindness and Empathy To Lead More Effectively

by: Deborah Bruno posted: June 29, 2015

Being A Better Leader In The Workplace

When we are younger, we are taught to mind our manners and always be nice to others. It seems though that many adults in the business world are ignoring these simple life lessons. As The New York Times recently covered in their article, No Time to Be Nice at Work, “Rudeness and bad behavior have all grown over the last decades, particularly at work”. It is not uncommon for your boss to be paying more attention to their iphone than you during or meeting or to quickly throw you under the bus if an issue arises. This uptick in bad behavior is not conducive for anyone involved. Employees living in constant stress and anxiety that they will be on the chopping block have been proven to decrease productivity and retention. The same New York Times article references a study done with the Academy of Management, tested relationship between rudeness and performance, which showed that employees who endured more stress and non-civil behavior at work had lower levels of productivity across the board.

With this rampant insensitivity, how can one be a good leader while being a nice person? Leadership Development offered by Executive Leadership or Business Coaches can help managers identify their own shortcomings in the area of kindness. Many times a leader may be unaware how their actions and words can effect the team. Along with Leadership and Executive Coaching, below are four ideas to keep in mind when dealing with your employees and peers and become a more effective leader.

  1. Lead by Example - The old adage, “action speaks louder than words “comes to mind when thinking about leading by example. A manager can talk on and on about teamwork during meetings but if they turn around and constantly berate their employees or other teams what message is that really sending? As a leader you have the ability and responsibility to set the tone for the team. Push back on different departments when needed, always be mindful of the words and actions you use, and don’t ask your team to do anything you wouldn’t personally do.
  2. Focus on Strengths not Weaknesses - There is no such thing as the perfect employee, but as a leader it is your job to see what areas your team members excel in and use it to push the entire team forward. For example, maybe you have someone on your team who loses their cool when speaking to unhappy customers, but is a whiz at keeping their tasks organized. Instead of focusing on trying to fix the perceived weakness of having a quick temper, focus on the positive. Enlist that person to work behind the scenes to organize the teams strategy and operations.
  3. Be Approachable but Accountable - Many times, managers are so worried that their team is going to take advantage of their kindness they swing in the other direction, forgetting that their employees are also people with a life outside of work. There might be days a team member needs to leave early or they might be having personal issues that affect their performance. A good manger understands this and allows for employees to have an off day all while being mindful the behavior does not turn into a habit. It can be a difficult balance to be approachable without being a doormat but if you create an environment where people feel open enough to be honest about issues that arise you have the ability to mirror that honesty if you feel you need to have a serious discussion about their overall performance.
  4. Kindness Counts - Above all, be nice. A quote that always sticks out to me is by Conan O’Brien “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen” … I think these are words all managers and bosses, heck, everyone, should remember. The underrated virtue of kindness can take you and your team a lot further than rudeness or insensitivity ever will.

Do you need help putting the above ideas above into action? A leadership or business coach can help you get there by creating a plan to change to a more open and friendly management and communication style. Take the first step and connect with the right professional coach or leadership development coach for your organization by going to today to find out more. I would also love to hear your tips and tricks for playing nice at work, leave your feedback below!

About Deborah:Deborah Bruno is President and Founder of Mindbuilders, Inc a company that specializes in building healthy minds in both individuals and organizations. As a Leadership and Executive Coach and Licensed Psychotherapist Deborah has assisted thousands of people improve their effectiveness both personally and professionally. Deborah is a native New Yorker who has lived in Miami since 1999.

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