Why business leaders shouldn't underestimate the power of kindness


What’s the first word that springs to mind when thinking about leadership? Is it kindness? Nah, we thought not.

Leadership and kindness are two words that are rarely used in the same sentence, yet to be a successful leader, kindness is key. Here’s why:

It’s a dog-eat-dog world

Too often business leaders are all about maintaining their status, appearing strong and having their people bow down to them.

Although we’d like to think that leaders aren’t like those you see on TV shows such as The Apprentice (you know the type – domineering, cold, extremely competitive with a sheer determination to succeed even if it’s at the expense of others wellbeing), but in truth, some are exactly like that.

For those, kindness is at the bottom of their priority list and instead there’s a belief that if they are kind to their people, their power will be questioned.

Do as I say not as I do – no more

A lack of kind leadership in the workplace not only damages the company culture, but it can also have a detrimental effect on employee wellbeing.

Putting profit above people and being a poor leader has been linked to greater employee stress, reduced job satisfaction and overall significantly lower levels of wellbeing. In turn, this negatively impacts the organisation itself, including less productive staff, higher absenteeism and an increase in employee turnover.

Not only that, a recent eye-opening international study has found that mean managers make employees more likely to plot together to harm the company!

On that note, isn’t it time that kind leadership was made mandatory, not optional?

A kind leader = a strong leader

Bringing kindness into your leadership approach is a powerful move, not a powerless one.

Research suggests that when organisations promote an ethic of compassion rather than a culture of stress, they may not only see a happier, more productive workforce, but also an improved bottom line. Employers can enjoy several payoffs in the form of higher job satisfaction, loyalty, engagement, and productivity.

Plus, kindness is contagious. By a leader acting with kindness, there’s data that suggests others will pay it forward, creating an almost ripple effect throughout the organisation, while empowering employees and inspiring to deliver better results.

The key to kinder leadership at work

Now this isn’t where we reel of a list of random acts of kindness like holding the door open for a colleague, smiling in the corridor and saying thank you to your people – that should all come as standard.

In order to have a happy, healthy workforce, leaders must create a culture of kindness and compassion. Here’s our key steps to cultivating that shift…

*Gain some emotional intelligence

This is your ability to recognise and understand emotions in both yourself, and your employees. Having a better awareness on how your people are feeling in the workplace can help you manage your behaviour and working relationships.

A great way to gain those insights is with a wellbeing assessment tool – an anonymous approach to really LISTEN and effectively influence how you interact with your employees.

*Empower, don’t envy

There goes that word again ‘power’ – empowerment is one of the main keys to kindness. We’re talking about making a conscious effort to shine a spotlight on your people’s successes, offering opportunities for growth and encouraging employees to achieve their full potential.

*Treat people like people

At the end of the day, we are all human and all have an innate ability to be kind. That means placing job status and hierarchy aside and treating your people like people through understanding, openness, and compassion.

Here at Key Wellbeing, we believe kindness, leadership, and success go hand in hand. Do you want to do the best by your business and staff? If you need support in leading with more kindness, get in touch we’d love to hear from you.


In the run up to World Kindness Day (Saturday 13th November, 2021), we're running a competition to encourage workplaces to be kinder. Have you gone ABOVE and BEYOND to really brighten up a colleague's working day recently? We want to know all about it, find out how you can enter here and be in with a chance of winning a free treat box - our gift of self-kindness to you!