Bukola Konkwo: A Smidgen Of Kindness
In my career as an HR practitioner, I have become acquainted with the myriad of assumptions,
philosophies and ideas that people have of what a leader should or should not do, and alongside, ways in
which one should lead.
Interestingly, many of these ideas are in contradiction to each other and involve some of the following
As a leader you must always be firm, don’t let your guard down
You must practice emotional intelligence, but be sure not to show any emotions at work
Have an open door policy, but be sure to let your team know who is the boss
These are just a few of these quips about how leadership traits should be displayed. And for many leaders,
in a bid to embrace these sets of rules, it’s easy to forget the simplest rule of all: Be KIND!!!
So your team member asks for a day off, you consider granting it, but you don’t want to appear weak or
set a precedence’ so you say NO.
Your team has been working hard, bending over to meet business expectations. Many have made personal
sacrifices to make things happen. You know you should celebrate them and make public mentions of their
individual contributions. Rather you choose to keep quiet, after all they are doing what they are paid to do.
A functional business partner has accused a member of your team falsely, and is giving them a hard time. You know your team member walks the straight and narrow, is most likely blameless. But you don’t want to lose face in front of your peer/colleague, so you keep quiet and allow him/her to be trampled upon.
An Opportunity comes up for a member of your team. The employees behavior has been inconsistent lately, but you know that this opportunity is a game changer for their career. You want to be seen as blameless, and no spot on your career, you like ticking all the boxes, so you allow the opportunity to slip away.
How many of these stories seem familiar? Or perhaps you have been at the receiving end of these kinds of situations? Or perhaps you were the one responsible for someone else experiencing this?
As leaders, we need to be aware that we wield a whole lot of influence, as a result of our positions, over the career of our teams. Many times our actions, or even inactions can have a very significant impact on an individual’s productivity or career prospects. We really need to be consciously aware of this.
While being mindful of the fact that making people related decisions are not as simple as black or white, and in many instances may be very complex, always take a moment to pause and consider what the impact of your action or inaction would be, not just on yourself, but also on the other party. As much as lies within your influence/authority, please remember to be kind!
Many of us are the products of the kindnesses of others: when we deserved it, and when we did not deserve it; and this paved the way for opportunities that we would never have otherwise come across. I dare say that these opportunities led us to the zenith of our career, or at the very least, set us well on our way to the top.
So be kind, it costs nothing, absolutely nothing! However the rewards are unquantifiable, with the recipient achieving personal and professional growth, and you the giver of the kindness…reaping immense benefits!
Written by Bukola Konkwo
Bukola holds a MSc in Global Human Resource Management from the University of Liverpool and also a Bachelor of Education degree in Educational Technology from the University of Ilorin. She has acquired over 20 years of professional experience in various industries; spanning Non Governmental Organization, Information Technology, Power, Telecommunications, Oil & Gas and Manufacturing, where she has been able to gather extensive and in depth experience in General Administration, Human Resource Management, Training, Learning and Development, Business Partnering and Industrial Relations.