I saw these words on a t-shirt yesterday:
Humankind. Be both.
Full of warm feelings about the human family, this morning I read a Washington Post blog titled, Do jerks make better leaders? Geoffrey Nunberg concludes that jerky CEOs (he calls them A-holes) get more airtime from the media and attention in popular culture. “Every age seizes on one social miscreant to personify its deepest social anxieties,” and for the moment, it’s the bully boss.
New leaders can confuse the need for clear expectations or accountability with the need to be a jerk. I hope that everyone who reads Mr. Nunberg’s post will focus less on the Donald-Trump-like antics and more on these last two lines:
“True, every once in a while an A-word aspirant manages to percolate to the executive dining room on the strength of audacity alone. But the majority wind up seven job changes later, still in the company cafeteria, eating lunch alone.”
Bill Taylor sums up the importance of kindness (versus being smart) on Harvard Business Review’s blog:
“So by all means, encourage your people to embrace technology, get great at business analytics, and otherwise ramp up the efficiency of everything they do. But just make sure all their efficiency doesn’t come at the expense of their humanity. Small gestures can send big signals about who we are, what we care about, and why people should want to affiliate with us. It’s harder (and more important) to be kind than clever.”
Go forth and be an intelligent, demanding and nice leader!
Want to find better balance between kindness and accountability? Contact Humanergy
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Reminds me of the following quote from one of my favorite Jimmy Stewart movies – Harvey. In this movie, Jimmy Stewart plays Elwood P. Dowd who says: “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be’ – she always called me Elwood – ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”