“What’s the most important quality in a leader?”

Hi I’m Harold Sanders. I’m the husband of Edna and the father of those two, rambunctuous 4-legged critters of ours, Boomerang, the Australian Shepherd dog and Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat. Adopting them brought a whole new dimension to our lives. All of a sudden we were parents and I had a family. I’m also an Eagle Scout and lead a Boy Scout troop here in Shady Pines. I think long and hard about the qualities that are needed to be a leader.

So, again I ask: What really is the most important quality in a leader?

How about kindness. When did we all forget about kindness? When did we stop valuing kindness?

In our small Southern town, we believe Kindness is The Shady Pines Way!

I would argue that kindness is one of the most undervalued leadership qualities in our world today.

When did we decide kindness was not an essential trait of a great leader? When did we stop being kind as leaders?

When did we start thinking that kindness was just another word for pushover, weakness, inefficiency, and softness?

Why have we decided that mean people, who rule with fear and have a Game of Thrones approach are the ones who really drive results. And results are what people really value.

So we started letting people believe kindness is not really valuable.

That’s Not the Shady Pines Way

So, I have a question for you. How can we afford not to be kind?

Here’s what I believe and what I tell my Cub Scouts. I can lead with kindness. I can be tough and fair. I can have high standards and expectations for myself and those around me.

And I don’t have to kick people when they are down. I don’t have to make feel people worse than they already do about the mistakes they have made. I don’t have to use foul language, threaten, or manipulate. I don’t have to rule with fear. I don’t have to be unkind to drive results. I just don’t. And it’s not how I want to lead. I will not be an unkind leader.

Listen, no one’s perfect. Have you met my four-legged kids? We all have our moments. I am not always the kindest version of myself all the time. That’s just not possible—I am human after all. But I do try to think about how I can lead with more kindness, compassion, and generosity.

Kindness comes in all different forms. It’s the free smile, the free hello, and the free wave. It’s treating people with generosity, empathy, and care. It’s about asking people how they are doing and taking a few minutes to actually listen to the response before walking off. It’s about bringing humanity back to our lives.

Being kind is my greatest strength—our collective greatest strength—in leadership. This is how we should all want to lead to create a real impact for ourselves and for the people, and animals, in our lives.

What do you think is important for a leader to demonstrate?

Leave us a comment below!