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Tenderness as Leadership
The Key to a More Compassionate and Productive Workplace
In today's business world, it's more important than ever for leaders to be compassionate and understanding. This is because employees are more likely to be engaged and productive when they feel valued and appreciated.
A growing body of research supports the idea that tenderness is a key ingredient for successful leadership. For example, a Harvard Business School study found that leaders perceived as being compassionate were more likely to have high-performing teams.
Another study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, found that employees who felt supported by their leaders were more likely to be engaged in their work and to have lower levels of stress.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Tenderness is the truest expression of strength." This is because tenderness allows us to connect with others on a deeper level, to show them that we care, and to build strong relationships. When we are tender with others, we are also being strong for them.
So, what does it mean to be a tender leader? It means being able to connect with your employees on a human level. It means being understanding and empathetic and being willing to show your employees that you care about them.
There are many ways to show tenderness as a leader. Here are a few examples:
Be mindful of your employees' needs. Take the time to understand what your employees are going through, both personally and professionally.
Be supportive and encouraging. Let your employees know that you believe in them and that you are there to help them succeed.
Be forgiving. Everyone makes mistakes. When your employees make a mistake, don't be too quick to judge them. Instead, offer them your support and help them learn from their mistakes.
Be respectful. Treat your employees with the same respect that you would want to be treated with.
Being a tender leader doesn't mean that you have to be soft or weak. It simply means that you can connect with your employees on a human level and that you are willing to show them that you care. When you are a tender leader, you create a more supportive, resilient, and innovative work environment.
In her article, "Tenderness As Leadership", Susan Greene shares her own personal experience with the power of tenderness in the workplace. After suffering a concussion, Greene was forced to slow down and care for herself. This experience gave her a new appreciation for the importance of tenderness for herself and others.
Greene's experience is a reminder that tenderness is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength and resilience. When we can be tender with ourselves and others, we create a more compassionate and supportive world.
In Japan, a concept called "Kokoro" refers to the heart or soul. Kokoro is more than just emotion; it is also about understanding and compassion. In the workplace, Kokoro can be seen as a way of leading that is based on understanding and caring for employees.
Tender leaders who embody Kokoro can connect with their employees on a deeper level. They can understand what their employees are going through and what they need to succeed. They can also show their employees that they care about them and are there to support them.
Leaders embodying Kokoro create a more supportive and compassionate work environment. Employees feel valued and appreciated and are more likely to be engaged in their work. This can lead to increased productivity, innovation, and employee satisfaction.
If you want to be a more effective leader, I encourage you to embrace the power of tenderness. Be mindful of your employees' needs, supportive, encouraging, forgiving, and respectful. When you do these things, you will create a more supportive, resilient, and innovative workplace.