In a global climate of increasing complexity and uncertainty, there have been calls for a more responsible form of leadership in business and society. The relationship between kindness and leadership is therefore a topic of fundamental importance for our well-being as individuals, for the success of our organisations, and for the future of our global community.
Kindness in Leadership is one of the first books to explore both the concept and practice of kindness in leadership and consider them in different societal and organisational settings. Its uniqueness lies in combining an innovative mix of personal views from leaders with explorations of organisational philosophies and practices. It opens with a definition of kindness and its contours and underpinnings. It then explores the importance of kindness within different organisations, parts of the world, economic strata, age groups and genders, drawing on research on organisational compassion and neuroscience. In order to support learning, each chapter is supported by a series of questions for consideration and discussion.
This will be a stimulating and thought-provoking read for a wide audience of practicing managers and leaders in organisations of all shapes and sizes, for academics involved in educating for leadership, and for students aspiring to develop their own kind and compassionate leadership style.
Table of Contents
List of contributors
Foreword: by Colin Mayer
Introduction and Acknowledgements: by Gay Haskins
Chapter One: Kindness and its many Manifestations by Gay Haskins and Mike Thomas
Chapter Two: Kindness in Leadership at Work by Gay Haskins and Mike Thomas
Chapter Three: Kindness in Leadership in the Private and Public Sectors by Clare Murray and Alison Gill
Chapter Four: Kindness in Leadership: a Global Perspective by Lalit Johri
Chapter Five: Kindness: Perspectives from Women Leaders by Gay Haskins
Chapter Six: Kindness and the Owner Managed Independent Business by Yolanda Gibb, Allan Gibb and Dinah Bennett
Chapter Seven: Kindness in Sports Performance and Leadership by Alison Gill
Chapter Eight: Fairness and Equity: Should Kindness have a Place in the Boardroom? by Mike Thomas
Chapter Nine: Kindness in Leadership: An Opportunity for Business Schools? by Gay Haskins
Chapter Ten: Conclusions: Bringing Kindness to the Fore by Gay Haskins with Dinah Bennett, Allan Gibb, Yolanda Gibb, Alison Gill, Lalit Johri, Clare Murray and Mike Thomas
Epilogue: A Company Founded on Kindness by Kathleen Henson
Gay Haskins is an Associate Fellow of the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
Mike Thomas is Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Organisational Leadership and Mental Health, University of Central Lancashire
Lalit Johri is a Senior Fellow in International Business of the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
"There is too little attention given to the importance of kindness in leadership. Maybe this book can help to shift the paradigm of leadership so that kindness takes a bigger place in the list of characteristics sought in selecting and promoting leaders in all kinds of organisations in society."
Professor Ariane Berthoin Antal, research director, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany
"Having heard from several of my superiors in my career about ‘being too soft and compassionate’ as an improvement area, I was delighted to read about the virtues of ‘kindness in leadership.’ This book by some eminent thought leaders, reassured me that kindness in leaders is their strength and it has a direct bearing on the success of any pursuit."
Deepak Chopra, Group CEO, Anand Group, India
"What a beautiful, thought provoking exploration of this poorly explored yet absolutely critical dimension of leadership. It will show you of the power of kindness and how it can transform your leadership."
Professor Jay A. Conger, Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership Studies, Claremont McKenna College, USA
"In today’s complex, rapidly changing high tech. world, kindness in leadership is more important than ever. The collective wisdom of the authors, all experts in the field of leadership and business, brings together important insights and practices. A kinder world is a more productive world where individuals and corporations can thrive."
Katherine Corich, Founder and Chair, Sysdoc Group
"This book makes a compelling case for kindness and fairness contributing to business success. Kindness certainly contributes to business success, but it is not an easy option and needs wholehearted involvement from the top."
John Elliott MBE DL, Executive Chairman, Ebac Ltd, UK
"Kindness is at the very heart of our philosophy but it demands that everyone lives and breathes it every day. The human, financial and societal outcomes are tangible and will endure through future generations."
Richard Everard OBE DL, Chairman, Everards Brewery Ltd, UK
"It might not be high on the corporate agenda – but this terrific book shows the central role that kindness can play in making our corporations and society a better place."
Professor Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School, UK
"This could be the book which changes global perception and appreciation of kindness in leadership, bringing it to the fore in the considered development of our organisations and societies. The authors’ panoramic exploration of the many manifestations and impacts of kindness highlights the immense value of this inexhaustible, infinitely sharable, inner resource. The book is a true gift to the literature on Leadership and a convincing exposition of how we would all benefit from making kindness more visible in the world."
Professor Suzi Jarvis, Founding Director, UCD Innovation Academy, University College Dublin, Ireland
"Kindness is not an optional. In a world that is getting more complex and digital every day, kindness is an indispensable component of successful leadership."
Nadin Meloth, International Co-President, European Women’s Development International Network (EWMD) and Business Coach
"Hard, compelling justification for kind leadership. A powerful addition to our understanding of why organisational cultures based on trust and engagement deliver superior results."
Major General David Mulhall, DSC, AM, CSC, Commander Joint Logistics, Australian Defence Force, Department of Defence, Australia
"Real insights into win-win global leadership and collaboration, Kindness in Leadership is a nice reminder to all of us, in whatever role we play in society, kindness can make a remarkable impact on everything we do. Indeed, a common virtue and practice that transcends through cultures of Developed and Emerging markets."
Beng Neoh, Managing Director, North Asia, AMP Capital, China
"Kindness in Leadership" provides the ‘ying’ to governance frameworks' ‘yang’ that so often is discussed in isolation resulting in a bureaucratic tick-box exercise. The contributors provide a fresh, and at times revelatory, new approach to leadership and influencing culture in professional and high performance environments; exploring good old-fashioned courtesy, respect and fairness. The perfect antidote to compliance that could prove an essential accompaniment to the revised Corporate Governance Code."
Annamarie Phelps CBE, Vice Chair, British Olympic Association, UK
"This thought-provoking and ambitious book makes a strong case for integrating kindness into the complicated role of leadership, a topic that is not discussed enough. Fairness and kindness have contributed significantly to my law firm's financial success, stability, and remarkable retention of top professionals and staff employees."
Arthur J. Shartsis J.D., Founding Partner, Shartsis Friese LLP, San Francisco, USA
"Everyone agrees that kindness is an important virtue; yet conceptually, especially in leadership work, it can be elusive. Kindness in Leadership elucidates the various facets of kindness as an important set of values in our leadership practices in a clear, insightful and practical manner. Values-based leadership is needed now more than ever before in this current climate of rapid and disruptive changes. This book gives us the stimulus to think much harder about it and hopefully practise it conscientiously."
Wong Siew Hoong, Director-General of Education, Ministry of Education, Singapore
"The book rightfully and convincingly argues that kindness should be the DNA of a successful organization for it enhances purpose and values of its people. I am inspired to further ingrain it in my organization which places compassion at its core."
Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub, CEO and Cardiac Surgeon, National Heart Institute, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
"This is a book that is most needed in this time of divisiveness in politics, international relations and society at large. I found a number of useful suggestions for conversations and individual contemplation. Kindness is contagious…pass it on!"
Sven Atterhed, Co-Founder, The ForeSight Group, Sweden