Article by Sandra Zafirakopoulou*

Every day a lot of ink, thought and emotion is devoted to articles, books and seminars on the ingredients of Good Leadership. Who is the successful Leader? Difficult question with multifaceted answers.

Let’s start with the basics: I don’t like to see the word Leader with a capital “L”. So we continue with a small initial and remind that the leader is a term with a positive sign and many definitions, almost as many as… and the leaders themselves! But he is still a human being, a fellow human being. So let’s bring it closer to us by “downsizing” its “L”.

In my previous job, I remember organizing a farewell party for a colleague who, from the position of director, had decided to go abroad. After the party was over, a girl from the group’s call center approached him and said, “Do you know what I will miss most about you?” Your kindness. ”

The truth is that at that moment I thought he was underestimating him. A man who had offered a lot to the group and its people… to remember him mainly for his kindness? Not for his successes, his pioneering seminars, the crowded conferences he organized? Strange!

Today, six or so years later and having the luxury of being able to talk to a lot of people from different fields, I found the cohesive element of the components of successful leadership. Yes, kindness is unquestionable. It is not often recognized as a component, perhaps because it is taken for granted, perhaps because the other characteristics of a leader are, in theory, more “useful.”

But should we go along with our thinking below? Think about which leaders in your life do you remember the most? Which leaders did you follow with your heart and mind? Which leaders did you trust? To which leaders do you owe it to yourself to become better? Which leaders would you like to coexist with again at work or in the pursuit of your dreams? And one more thing: what kind of leader would you like to be?

To anticipate two misunderstandings: on the one hand, kindness, for me, is not a necessary and capable condition, it is only a necessary condition and, on the other hand, I am not influenced by the position of the leader in a charitable organization. The fact that kindness is a necessary condition of any successful leadership concerns all areas of our lives and all sectors of our economy.

Research shows that a professional changes 12 jobs on average. Maybe if those in charge of a team showed more kindness, then we would all have a little trouble?

What is kindness?

Positive predisposition towards those around us, a predisposition that creates relationships of trust. I will be more open, more creative and more inventive, if I know you will not challenge me.
Transparency and honesty in the way we manage our work and our colleagues. It will be easier for me to talk to you about a problem I am facing if you are honest with me. After all, most of the time I just want someone in charge of me to listen to me, to understand me or, at least, to show that he understands me.
Deep understanding of the people we work with. Only if you know me well can you use me and build an effective team that will work together for a long time.
Happy associates. And happy associates are much more productive, according to a number of studies, most notably at Warwick University, which cites the example of Google, a company that, when it actually invested in the happiness of its employees, increased its results by 37%.
Honest networking. A benevolent leader is likely to build relationships and networks that last longer. kindness is fertile ground of all kinds
Deep appreciation and gratitude. Kindness will make a leader feel more deeply grateful for the success of the team and the company. And that will be the starting point for the team’s next success. Small note: Gratitude does not end with a thank you no matter how intense it is. In order to show our appreciation, we have to think more creatively and if we are kind, it will come easily.
What good do good leaders do? They set clear expectations of their team members, give honest feedback, share the “bravo”, encourage the development of their partners, offer genuine help to colleagues and those around them and, above all, treat people humanely.

In closing, I would like to not confuse kindness with weakness or softness and not confuse it with the pretending behaviour that motivates me to be liked. In addition, kindness does not mean that I am not demanding or strict.

Kindness is a beautiful and pure heart. When that is the basis of character and leadership style, all other virtues will grow and flourish…

*Sandra Zafirakopoulou is General Director – CEO in Make – A – Wish Greece
Source : – day of publication : April 27th,2020