A research by Infojobs, the number one Italian digital company in online job search, highlighted how attitudes in workplaces and employees’ expectations towards managers have changed. Among the nearly 2,000 interviewees, 65% consider kindness as an important strength and 20% as an even essential element, especially in this period of uncertainty due to the pandemic.
The arrival and ongoing of COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives, not only privately, but also on a professional level. Therefore, leaders must adapt their approach to this new situation, in order to be able to lead companies effectively and efficiently and revive them towards a more certain future. This is the right moment for real leaders. So, what do we really mean by leadership? And why the best leadership model, today, is the “gentle” one?
THE DIFFERENT SHADES OF THE LEADERSHIP
Leadership VS Power
By leadership we mean the ability to motivate a group of people to take useful actions for the good of the whole company. In particular, effective leadership is based on ideas and initiatives that need to be communicated to others in a convincing and, above all, involving way. In fact, one of leadership’s main objective is to make every employee feel as part of a common goal. However, at this point it is necessary to underline the difference between leadership and power. Being a leader means being able to influence others without any imposition; it is the ability to be followed without actually requesting it. On the contrary, managers who exercise their power over their employees are those who get obedience using strict rules or threats, building a definitely negative working environment.
The kind leadership
Referring to the difference between leadership and power, it is possible to see how the former, at times, is also defined as “kind power”. We then arrive at an aspect of leadership increasingly adopted and appreciated in companies. Kind leadership is the set of skills of a manager who is capable of bringing a team to achieve realistic goals. A kind leader is the individual who guides their collaborators to make better, more rational decisions, helping them to acquire awareness and actively participate in business life, always expressing new ideas.
THE KIND LEADER 'S SOFT SKILLS
The study conducted by Infojobs reveals the characteristics a leader should have to be called “kind”. The team spirit is the first highlighted aspect by the interviewees, so not just a man in command but a team that shares successes and failures. Another competence that emerges from the research is the ability to guide the team towards goals’ achievement, a path that does not require the imposition of ideas and methods but a collaborative approach. Moreover, an essential competence of the kind leader is the capability of rewarding successes and investigating failures, without the urge to identify a culprit. This is a characteristic which is closely related to the ability to listen or consider the opinion of all people in a company.
KINDNESS: A STRENGTH FOR COMPANIES
It is well known that the pandemic has affected many aspects of corporate life and in this new context organizations need a new type of leadership. It should be more inclusive, providing for managers’ behavioural changes in order to guide employees towards a new way of working. To date, most people prefer smart working or a hybrid work environment and the strategy that leaders must put in place to lead new teams must ensure excellent organizational performance without affecting the overall employees’ well-being. In this new scenario it becomes crucial for a leader to understand the strengths of people, supporting those actions that increase the spirit of initiative.
In conclusion, it is possible to affirm that the success of a company will be closely linked to the ability of the leaders of creating a rewarding and performing business environment and work experience. Using a kind leadership-oriented approach will give more value both to the teams and their work, with positive consequences on business results.