Kindness Is The New Role Model
Don’t wait for people to be kind, show them how. — Unknown
What’s a quality that is beneficial and appreciated right now? Kindness. It’s the salve that calms a mix of opinions swirling around us. It’s a blanket that warms your team when mental health is being challenged by the effects of the pandemic. It’s the level ground that keeps everything else somewhat balanced in a topsy-turvy year. Whether you lead a team, project or department, informally or formally, your group is looking to you for guidance. Do them a favor, show them kindness. If you’re thinking how to do that and need an example to follow, look no further than your tv, laptop or phone, he’s there: Michael Strahan.
How does Michael do that and how can you do the same? Watch him on any number of programs. He listens to everyone fully, responding, not reacting. Showing patience. He sees each person as an individual, recognizing them as unique. He pays attention to details of the whole person: body language, tone of voice, facial expression, words, opinions, values. He asks questions. He offers trust and gives trust.
What of Michael Strahan’s kindness? Surely, it’s public relations and marketing, acting, you may say. Well, I don’t need magazine articles or YouTube videos, I can tell you from my personal experience, it’s real.
Behind the Photo
When first launching Susan Goldberg Leadership Consulting, I attended Fast Company’s Innovation Festival. (If you are not familiar with the “festival”, it’s a convention of sorts with key note speakers, break out sessions, workshops and discussion groups. It centers on ground breaking thinking in the business world.) One of the break-out sessions of a particular year was Constance Schwartz-Morini and Michael Strahan speaking about their leadership and founding of SMAC. (SMAC – Sports, Media, and Culture is a production company and talent agency that Strahan co-leads.) I was there to learn about their leadership style and inspirations. Also, because most of the employees were young professionals, my passion.
That wasn’t the best part. Afterward, there was a cocktail party on the outside deck of their production office. Having cocktails with young professionals from around the country surrounding a standing table, they were telling me how impressed they were with the presentation. The cherry on the cake would be if they could get their photo taken with Michael. Just then, he walked out onto the deck smiling, his very approachable smile. Impulse overcame me – I reached out to him, “Sorry to bother you. Would you mind? These people would be very excited to have their picture taken with you.” Michael jumped at the chance saying, “Would love to.” I took photo after photo for each of them. Afterward, Michael and I spoke football and he laughed commenting a number of people on the deck weren’t even aware he had a football career. Then, drawn away by popular demand, he made the rounds like a good host.
There’s more. Fifteen minutes later an assistant came out looking for him. “Time to go, Michael. We have to get you on a plane.” “Okay, okay, I’ll be there in a minute.” Heading back inside, he doubled back to me. Me. “I realized you didn’t have a chance to get a photo. Would you like to take a photo together?” I was floored. Not only had he realized that, in spite of a relentless schedule and projects, he thought about it enough that it bothered him and he had to do something about it. That genuine kindness left a lasting impression and offers a great example. He went the full nine yards to make a stranger feel good. (Couldn’t resist.)
Appreciating Michael Strahan is kind, how does kindness apply to you? Being kind benefits you. Kindness assists in developing trust among you and your group; continual kindness can instill loyalty among employees or team members and with you. It fosters respect among your group and a confidence to offer new ideas, strategies, or technology with an understanding that even if the suggestion is not adopted, it was encouraged and heard. Things that are worthwhile to your team and organization.
Even if you are not in a leadership position currently, you can practice kindness anyway at any time. And people will be thankful. And, if you are feeling discouraged by the lack of good kind leadership in the public eye today, look to Michael Strahan. Perhaps we all would be better off asking ourselves in any pressured situation, “what would Michael do?” And allow his traits to be a guiding light.
The world right now needs more leaders like Michael.
If you are in a position to bring forth good change, encouragement, and growth – you want full access to your potential. Make the choices you need to be the leader that advocates change to look forward to. That change which engages your people, improves productivity and highlights the abilities of your team members.
If you would like to have a conversation on how you can get results with authenticity, continual learning and kindness, contact me: Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com