Welcome to The Kind Leader Newsletter #3!
Tip #3: Find something to compliment in each person’s work.
Twice last week, someone sent me something they had written to review. “Poke holes in it”, they said. “I want you to tell me what could be improved!” After reading both documents, here’s what I replied: “Your document looks great! Well thought out and written. Why don’t you just go ahead and send it out?!” A short while later, I received a version of the same, surprised response from both people: “Wow’” they said. “It’s been a long time since someone’s complimented my work! I’m so used to negative feedback I didn’t remember how great it feels to get a compliment!”
As a leader, it’s easy to forget how much weight your words carry. And what a huge difference your kind words and compliments mean to people.
So, even if the work your team member has done isn’t exactly as you imagined it, make sure you take time to actively and genuinely find something to compliment in it. If you aren’t used to doing this, you will find that it takes time, and practice. You’ll need to slow down and think about your team member’s effort and feelings first. And, if the work really misses the mark, you’ll have to ask yourself why, and how you can help them do better next time.
As a leader, please remember, your words stay in people’s minds and hearts for a long time. Please make sure they are kind ones.
What do you think? What do you do?
How often do you compliment your team members’ work?
How can you practice responding kindly, even if the result isn’t exactly what you expected?
Please share your ideas in the comments!
This week’s Kind Leader research update
Like anything else we want to get better at, being a Kind Leader takes practice. And that’s not just my opinion, it’s science. In her article “Kindness and Brain: What is the Impact of Kindness in Brain Functioning” Daniela Silva shares that every kind act changes the brain in a number of ways including:
- Increasing the production of ‘feel-good’ hormones dopamine and oxytocin in the brain of both the person who acts with kindness and the person who receives it
- Activating the ‘reward’ system of the brain to produce feelings of happiness and satisfaction in both the person acting kindly and the person receiving the kindness
- Changing the functioning of the prefrontal cortex to increase the number of neural connections allowing neural pathways and habits of kindness to form
So, the best way to start being a Kind Leader, is actually to start! And then to deliberately practice acting kindly on a regular basis. Finding something to genuinely compliment in each team member’s work is a great place to start your practice! It may feel strange at first, but, as science tells us, it will soon become a habit!
Daniela Silva. “Kindness and Brain: What is the Impact of Kindness in Brain Functioning”. EC Neurology 5.4 (2017): 146-148.
That’s this week’s Kind Leader newsletter!
Look forward to seeing you next week!