#BeKind21: The Importance of Kind Leadership in Building Purpose-Driven Organizations

Be kind.

It may seem simple, but this two-word directive can profoundly impact how purpose-driven leaders cultivate workplaces built on compassion, inclusion, and belonging.

Kindness has always been necessary, and the call for kindness rings even clearer as we face overlapping and ongoing global crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. That is stressful, and it is ok for people in workplaces to admit that. Employees should be able to bring their whole selves to work. Empowering employees to do so requires a different type of leadership, one that is centered on kindness, respect, and compassion. 

What Is Kind Leadership?

For purpose-driven leaders, kindness must be the foundation of the decisions they make regarding their business practices more generally. Today’s leaders must consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, the communities they serve, and the environment. Prioritizing these questions will only benefit the long-term goals of their businesses. Kind leadership is critical to achieving these goals.

Studies show that kindness plays a crucial role in improving mental wellbeing. For instance, the Foundation’s latest study, Kindness Is Action, tells us that young people between 13 and 24 believe experiencing, and even witnessing, more kindness would help to improve their mental wellness. That’s true across the spaces where young people live, work, and play. Similar connections have been made across generations.

At Kindred, we view kindness toward oneself and others as one of the core pillars of socially responsible leadership. In Leading with Kindness, authors William F. Baker and Michael O’Malley define the key attributes of kind leaders as humility, authenticity, gratitude, integrity, humor, and compassion. Demonstrating these attributes may look like setting clear expectations for employees, providing honest feedback, recognizing employee successes, and promoting growth. 

Kindred’s mission is to build a more equitable society by advancing the actions of today’s leaders. Central to achieving this mission is applying kindness to leadership. We believe that:

  • Kindness is a source of strength and accountability as it requires them to hold themselves to higher standards in how they treat themselves and others.
  • Kindness brings humanity back to business. It humanizes our interactions with colleagues, consumers, community, and the environment.
  • Kindness supports the objectives of successful leaders in building trust, recruiting talent, and promoting compassion, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace. Leaders who are kind will create wealth for all their stakeholders. 

Kindness in Action

Kind leadership requires action. That’s why this year, Kindred is participating in Born This Way Foundation’s #BeKind21 campaign, encouraging individuals to practice kindness toward themselves and others from September 1st to September 21st. Now in its fourth year, #BeKind21 invites everyone to lead with kindness in unique and creative ways. Participants are encouraged to practice kind acts like wearing a mask, registering to vote, practicing mindfulness, and advocating for a world where all are loved, included, and respected. 

As part of Kindred’s participation, we have put together a playbook of 21 individual and structural actions executives can take to make an impact within their company, their community, or the environment. We invite you to download the Kindred #BeKind21 calendar with suggested acts of kindness you can use to join the movement! 

The world is heavy, let’s lift each other up.

With thanks to Alex Aide, Director of Programs, Born This Way Foundation.

Sarah Green-Vieux

Published on August 27, 2021