Businessmen and professors William F. Baker and Michael O’Malley have opened quite a couple of new perspectives on leadership. While many leadership books concentrate on leading by example, leadership traits, the nature or nurture debate, Leading with Kindness, subtitled How Good People Consistently Get Superior Results, is the first one to value kindness, not coincidental a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Fruits of the flesh, also described in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, brought us greed and corporate callousness, the kind of leaders that caused the current economic crisis.
The authors define kindness through a series of traits like compassion, integrity, gratefulness, credibility, humor, humility and authenticity. Reading along the examples, do’s and dont’s one drifts away from kindness alone. Parallels with parenting and family life got lots of attention. And so you learn (again) about active listening, job satisfaction, motivators en 360-degrees leadership. Leadership and management are used as interchangeable, only slightly different concepts. I was positively surprised by the amount of other examples than the companies found in “the” other management literature.
You get chances to enrich your leadership abilities to:
- motivate employees, committee members, and others
- recognize unique talents while nurturing all employees
- establish a supportive environment
- spur continuous organizational growth
- adapt to change
- stimulate calculated “stretch” and risk-taking
- prepare the next generation of leaders
The book was praised as one of the best leadership books of 2008. I listened to the audio book edition, which was read aloud with a pleasant pace and voice.
About the authors
William F. Baker is President Emeritus of New York City’s channel Thirteen/WNET, where he has served as CEO and President for 20 years. He is also Executive in Residence at Columbia University Business School and Professor at Fordham University. Baker received his Ph.D. in Communications and Organizational Behavior.
Michael O’Malley is a psychologist who has over 20 years of consulting experience with Fortune’s 500 companies. He is the author of “Creating Commitment: How to Attract and Retain Talented Employees” and “Are You Paid What You’re Worth?.” O’Malley is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University Business School and the Executive Editor for Business, Economics, and Law at Yale University Press.