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Kindness As a Leadership Tool: The Power of Women Leaders

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 1/03/2016 Marion Chamberlain
LOOKING FOR A JOB © Jupiterimages via Getty Images LOOKING FOR A JOB

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
Jane Goodall

I'm a huge proponent of using kindness, compassion and support as guiding principles in both my personal life and own business. I've been told since I was a child that I'm a bit sensitive. While I used to see this as a criticism or a weakness to be improved, I no longer see it in this light. This sensitivity has been a benefit for me in how I approach people because I know how it feels when words are used as weapons and to hurt.
Which brings me to express something that has been bothering me greatly as I observe behaviors both on social media and within the workplace. As women, we're told that we're innately more nurturing and kinder than men. Yet, I've been witnessing some examples, which are quite contrary to this notion. I'm normally the person who is a bit hesitant to publicly speak up, push an opinion or attack. I tend to make spiritual excuses for behaviors that I'm not in agreement with.
However, I see so many women share the Dalai Lama's quote that the world will be saved by the Western Woman. Yet, in this mission to save the world, women can be their own worst enemy at times. What have I seen that has triggered me so greatly? Here are three examples:
  1. While I'm not a follower of Howard Stern, I greatly admire the work his wife Beth is doing for the Northern Shore Animal League. They have fostered over hundreds of cats. Beth does a wonderful job on social media to bring awareness to the cause. Over one weekend, she posted a picture of herself with one of her fosters that triggered quite the controversy. Some of her followers turned into "haters" since they deemed the picture too risqué.
  2. I belong to a Facebook group, which is geared toward women business owners to help them and provide support with business growth and marketing. Lately, there have been quite a number of wars of words with women attacking business opinions and expertise. For example, a simple question about approaching SEO turned into a feud as to who knows better; and who truly is the "expert" among the group members.
  3. I work with a women's leadership development group for a large international corporation. The group is co-led by two managers. In organizing activities with the two women, I encounter both women undermining one another behind each other's back. It has become a power play and delays decision-making.

There should always be room for expressing a difference of opinion and feelings. The approach, though, is what truly matters. Let's not attack other women because we're not happy with their display of sensuality, expertise or status. We may not agree, but personal attacks don't serve if we want to make a difference. In my case, there are a lot of other leadership experts out there. I personally don't agree with the "you have to hustle", "maximize your peak performance", or "hard-nosed discipline" approach. You wouldn't find me blasting that person though. Why? Because it's their approach and they're most likely helping others with it and doing good.
I hope you join me in honoring people who are doing good and let's not be too self-righteous in our judgments. Let's know that the ocean is pretty big and there isn't a need for being hyper-competitive. Let's accept that there is more than one opinion and approach to how things work and value others' expertise.
And here's some closing food for thought courtesy of Yogi Tea: "Delight the world with compassion, kindness and grace."
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