"Restore the Importance of Humanity, Dignity and Respect among our young people, community and Leaders" is my personal mission statement that I shared in my last ROI Wisdom Newsletter. I went onto share Webster Dictionary's definition of the words Humanity, Dignity and Respect and my commentary on each. Kindness was one of the words used by Webster to describe Humanity.
Humanity is impacted by its leadership. Like it or not, Leaders set the tone of the environment or culture that we live and work in, even at Church or at our other Volunteer activities we may be involved with. You may even be the Leader at one of these locations. So I ask you, are you a K.I.N.D. Leader?
K is for Knowledge: Do you know what you are talking about? Have you done the proper research, skill building, practice, and preparation that is required to be at your best. Then, another important component of being a K.I.N.D. Leader is are you sharing that knowledge? There is an old cliche that says "Knowledge is Power." But is it really or is it only powerful when communicated and received and used the way it was intended. How many brilliant people do you know that when they share something and think they are being perfectly clear, leave your head spinning. Or worse yet, feel the info they have is on a need to know basis. I remember being in a pre-marital counseling session with my husband and he is one of those brilliant people that thinks he has shared something because he has thought about it, but it has not actually come out of his mouth and been communicated to me. Sound familiar? Knowledge is only powerful when you communicate what you know in a timely basis and in a way the person receiving the information can understand and do something with it. The other important perception I learned during this counseling was that not sharing information can mean the same thing as lying to certain individuals and so withholding knowledge and information can undermine trust.
The I stands for Inspire. When you share information, do it in an uplifting way that gets people excited and animated. Affirm your belief in them and make it okay to have fun and laugh. I find everyone takes themselves so seriously. The down side to that is what you are so focused on to accomplish will take longer because neurologists have proven that if your brain is not in a positive state of mind, it does not learn or process information as well or as quickly. The other aspect of being an inspirational leader is that people have to connect with the "Why" of the information or the action is important. If it does not make sense to them, it will be ignored or forgotten.
N stands for Nurture. This connects back to the quote at the top of my newsletter that I am sure you have heard many times and I think Theodore Roosevelt was the first to say it. People have to know you genuinely care. And if you don't genuinely care, then you need to ask yourself, am I the right person in the right seat? Because if you don't care either about the work or the person or people you are leading, you are either burnt out and therefore may not be as effective as you once were or you are making it very difficult for you to be at your best and hence successful.
The most important human needs are to be accepted, connected and appreciated. Consistently show your appreciation by saying Thank you frequently and be specific so that people are clear about what they are doing right and should continue. If you are not consistent and all of a sudden are giving Thank you's when unexpected, then people sometimes can get suspicious that there is an alternative motive. They will only start to trust you are sincere if it is genuine and consistent.
Nurture also means be encourgaging. A perfect example was the Super Bowl on Sunday. It would have been very easy for the Leaders of the Patriots to get nasty, and say things like what were you thinking drawing that penalty that cost us a touchdown, or maybe just plain have given up because it seemed impossible that you could even come back to win after being down 25 points when half the game is over. But instead, they built each other up by saying we can do this and pulled off an historical win! Do you persevere with your encouragement, even when things get tough or seem impossible to accomplish?
That leads me to the D in K.I.N.D. and it stands for Discipline and Development. You have to have discipline to be consistent and you have to believe in development of yourself and others as an integral part of your role as a Leader. If you are not growing, you are dying and taking those you are leading with you. Be disciplined about yours and others development.
So, again I ask you...Are you a K.I.N.D. Leader?
K - Knowledge, share your knowledge for others to benefit
I - Inspiration, share in an inspiring, uplifting, affirming way
N - Nurture, continue to show your appreciation, say thank you frequently and encourage
D - Discipline/Develop, keep practicing K.I.N. until it becomes just part of how you communicate
I know being kind or kindness is not a trait that is typically used to describe leadership. Yet, I believe it is the very trait that is needed most to create the kind of culture that I think we all desire to work and live in every day of our lives. I also think it is the very trait that is needed if we are to "Restore the Importance of Humanity, Dignity and Respect among our young people, community, Leaders and Nation."
Yours with Trust,
Dana Riker Jackson