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Leadership: Better to be Kind or Tough?

Posted by Insightlink on 01/09/15

What The World Needs Now is Kindness

There is significant evidence that, as employee job satisfaction and engagement increase, so too does an organization's financial performance, as a direct result of higher employee productivity, improved employee retention and greater customer satisfaction. Apart from the surveys we conduct for our clients we also conduct our own independent annual survey of randomly selected employees to create statistically valid Employee Engagement Norms to help us evaluate real levels of engagement.
Using open-ended questions, we often get comments that the least satisfying aspect of working for a company is that other employees are not held accountable. On the other hand, we also hear that senior management is often distant, inaccessible and does not understand what employees are facing every day. For example, “they pass me in the hallways and don’t even acknowledge me”. Sound familiar?

Solutions to both these complaints were addressed in a recent article by Mary Jo Asmus titled ‘Is Kindness as Important as Toughness in Leadership?’. Asmus says that ‘The bottom line is that we need toughness (results-orientation) and kindness (caring for others) in our leaders’. Despite research that shows the brain seems incapable of focusing on results and people at the same time, Asmus prefers to focus our attention on the brain’s ability to change and, with intention and practice, that people can change how they react and can lead with greater balance over time.

Asmus contends that managers who focus on results while still showing kindness is what the world needs now and listed here is what the data are showing:
• Projecting warmth before establishing competence in a new position is more effective than beginning with toughness.
• When leaders are fair to their team, the team reflects fairness to each other and to customers.
• Employees would rather be happy than have more pay.
• A focus on results and social skills are necessary to be seen as a great leader.

Can you be results-oriented and while showing kindness at the same time? With practice, of course you can! Achieving this balance will be hard but it will help organizations achieve better results and you will feel good about yourself in the process.

Original Article here:



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