At this point in a series on attributes that I believe will ensure your success, some of you may be confused. Where are traits like resolve, power, and being visionary? Surely these will round out the series, right?
No. This is not a series on leadership attributes. But, even if your definition of success involves being a visionary leader, I would submit to you that increasingly exhibiting the 10 attributes included in this series will make you the best leader you can be. Saint Francis de Sales once said, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.” We have far too many examples of leaders who exhibit great power & vision but have been entirely ineffective because of “how” they exercise those qualities. So, sneak preview, you will see gentleness coming before this series is over, but today we explore. . .
Kindness. Two things stand out to me when I reflect on my career with Eaton Corporation. The first is handwritten notes. There is something personally powerful about receiving a handwritten note that recognizes a job well done or a congratulations on a well-deserved honor. Over the years, I collected these notes, and they came from peers, team members, and from leaders well above me in the organization – none of which were required to take the time to extend that kindness. Hand-written notes became a part of my routine, and not just to those under my leadership, but laterally and upward in the organization as well. The same kindness extended toward family, friends, etc. carries a lot of weight.
The second was a very specific moment that came 7 or 8 years into my career. I had just transferred to World Headquarters, a small-town kid from Nebraska hitting the big time! I was responsible for consolidating the financial results for a large portion of the company and providing written commentary to the Chief Officers detailing the results and how they were achieved. My first month on the job, I was on the top floor distributing my reports and ran into the CEO in the hallway. I knew “of” him but had never met him in person. Upon seeing me, he said something to the effect of, “Welcome Mr. Blincow, it is great to see you here at World Headquarters. This is a long way from your start at Kearney, Nebraska but you have done great work and I look forward to what you will do for us here.”
I’ll never forget the kindness of the CEO of a corporation having taken the time to know something about me and to be able to recognize me at our first encounter and welcome me. He was, in fact, a successful man. Success for him did include being the leader of a Fortune 500 company, and exhibiting kindness was a vital piece of his success.
Do not fall for the lie that you do not have time to extend kindness to a certain person because of your busy schedule. Do not fall for the lie that you are just wired to be so focused that you don’t notice people. Submit yourself, instead, to the process of being re-wired. I speak from experience when I say this. You can be re-wired; it just takes intentionality.
Helping you live intentionally is what Healthy Rhythms Life Coaching is all about.
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