- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Kindness’
When I was in practice as a securities lawyer, I used to think I had to be tough. Many days I also thought that the only way to compete with the male securities lawyers, I had to be mean. It all felt so wrong, yet it was all I knew. That was until the day when I couldn’t do it anymore. To be honest, I’m not sure I ever did ‘tough and mean’ very well. But who really does?
Yet I find so many of us still hang our professional hat on the notion of competition that includes being tough and mean. I’ve had several people (we’ll leave gender out of this for now) say that I’m just “too nice”. Really? Is that supposed to be a negative comment? If it is, then how do you explain why my business is doing so well?
While my response is not, “kill them with kindness” or “you wouldn’t know nice if it hit you in the head”, I do stop and think about what society, in particular professionals, consider an effective brand. Why is it that kindness doesn’t seem to be an option? Was it ever an option?
Here’s the deal, just because I’m kind doesn’t mean I’m a pushover. I think this is where the confusion happens. We automatically assume that if we are kind in business, then someone is going to run right over us and then we lose. Really?
On a recent trip through an airport, a billboard sign from Southwest Airlines caught my eye. It said, “Stand out by standing your ground”. To me that means, have an effective brand by holding firm to who you are and your values.
What does it mean to hold your ground? Since so many of us have boundary issues, I suppose most of us think it means we have to be tough and mean and ready to rumble.
It doesn’t mean that at all in my world. In my world standing my ground as an effective brand means being kind, yet firm. “No” means “no”. No explanation needed. Yet there’s no hostility and no grudges. Kindness can exist just the same by respecting the other party.
So what does this mean for you? Stop and think:
- Do you think you are too kind? If so, why?
- Do you maintain healthy boundaries with others?
- Or do you overcompensate by coming across as a rough and tough brand. Is it really working for you or could you be more effective as a brand by being more kind?