Why Leading With Kindheartedness Makes Sense

I have seen all shapes and types of leaders in my workshops. There is never a program I present that I don’t learn something new from a participant. But of all the qualities that contribute to strong and impactful leadership, the one that stands out and makes the greatest impression for me is kindheartedness.

What is kindheartedness?

A few definitions are:

  • Having or showing a sympathetic nature
  • Friendly or generous by nature
  • Arising from a kind heart
  • Sharing the feelings of others

All these descriptions point to a leader who brings caring and concern for others while helping them to grow their leadership knowledge and skills. I have witnessed these leaders throughout my professional career and I continue to see them as new generations move into leadership positions. When leaders are kindhearted they will always shine in the way they cultivate future leaders.

Here are six reasons why kindheartedness makes sense:


When leaders are kindhearted they allow their core values to stay in the forefront with every choice and action. As a result they never compromise what they stand for and team members can see their deepest truths. Authentic leaders are able to show their vulnerabilities which leads to building more meaningful relationships.


When we are kindhearted, leaders are able to communicate more clearly and openly with respect for others. They are able to state their needs directly while understanding colleagues’ points of view. Differences can be discussed professionally without anger or blaming. I worked with a kindhearted leader who shared the truth about the impact of a merger on her team. Because she was kind towards her team members they were more willing to be open about the enormous changes.


A kindhearted leader recognizes that their influence lies in building relationships with team members and colleagues. While working recently with a client we ran into differences but were able to work through them by acknowledging that our human connection was more important than choosing our particular solution.


Here is a little secret about being kindhearted– we can galvanize others to be their best. When leaders help empower co-workers to see their strengths and talents, we build credibility with others. When we believe that someone can handle greater responsibility by encouraging them to take on a stretch assignment, we help them grow in their careers.


In so many of my programs we talk about bringing humanity back to the workplace. It seems like it is missing. A kindhearted leader sees the human side of work and understands that a successful team is a team with kind hearts. As expressed in one of the definitions of kindheartedness, when we “share the feelings of others” we create camaraderie and spirit.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou


There is no more satisfying way to build our leadership than to be kindhearted because it allows us to combine humanity with performance.

How do you add kindheartedness to your leadership strategy?



6 thoughts on “Why Leading With Kindheartedness Makes Sense

  1. Love your thoughts on why kindhearted leaders are more successful…and I would add that being kindhearted helps nurture our own inner well-being. With so much hate out there these days, I worry a bit about what it’s doing to the interior life of these people….

  2. That’s a fantastic addition, LaRae! When we care about the way we interact and communicate with others as well as help them grow, we will gain personal satisfaction too. It’s so interesting how serving others contributes to our own personal growth too.

    Thanks LaRae!

  3. Your post reminds me of one of my favorite books, Leadership and Self-Deception by the Arbinger Institute. Any behavior, hard or soft, can be done with kindheartedness when you see the human in front of you. Being kind doesn’t mean only saying what people want to hear, it’s speaking what they need to hear in service of their success too.

    Thanks, Terri. Will absolutely share!


  4. I agree that kindheartedness does include sharing honest feedback so others can grow and correct their missteps. It is the way we communicate the feedback that is key. We need to lead by using clear, but respectful messages that are actionable and specific.

    Thanks so much Alli for your additions!

  5. Great post Terri! #2 Resonated loudly. People want to know you care and that you are telling them the truth. Even if it is a truth that is hard to hear. When you are willing to address their concerns with honesty and compassion – trust and loyalty continue to grow.

  6. When we share truthful and honest feedback we are being kindhearted because we are helping someone grow and become more skilled. Kindhearted leaders present the feedback in a respectful way leaving room for interpretation and additions.

    Thanks so much Chery for chiming in!

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