"It is better to be kind than right," so goes author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer's famous quote. And as you get older, you realize how much truth there is to it as kindness does have a positive effect, not just on your personal life, but also on your career.
According to a 2007 study, there is a connection between leadership success and kindness. The research studied a sample of 6,371 leaders from 38 countries, each of whom had at least three subordinates. These subordinates were asked to rate their managers on four areas: sensitivity, compassion, interest in the hopes and dreams of other people, and willingness to help an employee. Conversely, the manager's boss also rated his job performance.
Part of the conclusion of the study reads:
"This study found that the ability to understand what others are feeling is a skill that clearly contributes to effective leadership. In some cultures, the connection between empathy and performance is particularly striking, placing an even greater value on empathy as a leadership skill.
"... Empathetic leaders are assets to organizations, in part, because they are able to effectively build and maintain relationships—a critical part of leading organizations anywhere in the world."
"Fortunately, empathy can be learned. According to a an article by marriage and family psychologist Andrea Brandt, Ph.D. on Psychology Today, there is a simple, five-step exercise that can help you be more empathic:
"1. Think about your significant other or a friend, family member, or coworker.
"2. What has their mood been like in recent days?
"3. What’s going on in this person’s life that might be making them happy or sad, anxious, or angry?
"4. How are you contributing?
"5. What could you do or say to improve this person’s situation?"
Empathy starts with kindness: thinking about the situation of another person, listening to what they have to say, and considering and validating their feelings. "Even if you don’t agree with an opinion," Dr. Brandt wrote, "you can acknowledge the person’s right to their feelings."
It doesn't take a lot to be kind, but the reward—getting kindess in return and creating lasting relationships—is definitely more than enough.
With additional reporting by Charlene J. Owen.
This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.