A Kinder, Gentler Leader

shawn lovejoy Jul 21, 2022


By Shawn Lovejoy

It’s essential that we use our organization to build people rather than using people to build our organization. This begins, oddly enough, with practicing kindness.

Here are four ways to be a kinder, gentler leader.

  1. Don’t lead fatigued.

If you’ve ever been around whiny toddlers, you know that—most of the time—they just need to rest. Set them down for a nap (or even send them to bed early), and they wake up completely renewed. They morph into tiny angels.

In other words, they weren’t reacting out of emotional dysfunction; they were simply tired.

Adults function much the same way. And, although we don’t snatch toys and yell (most of the time), we do respond differently when we’re tired.

After Elijah fought the prophets of Baal, he found himself tired and depressed. In response, God offered him a nap and a snack (1 Kings 19:4-9). God’s solution was very practical.

One of the best, most proactive things you can do as a leader it to step into rhythm and stay unfatigued

  1. Be demanding without being demeaning.

These two words, demanding and demeaning, are mutually exclusive. We often wrongly link them together.

You can be right about something—and require adherence to a standard—and do it righteously, in a manner that honors everyone.

Or, you can be right and behave unrighteously.

Never be demeaning.

  1. Assume the best in people.

Give grace and the benefit of the doubt.

When an employee fails to meet standards, first assume they weren’t equipped correctly (resourcing them is, in fact, your job). Or, presume they had something happening in their personal life.

The reality is that in any leadership situation you—the leader—are the lid. That’s both good news and bad news.

Bad—it’s on you.

Good—you can adjust it!

  1. Cheer publicly, and critique privately.

The time and place for both cheer and critiquing matter. Always applaud your team when others can see it—even in front of their co-workers or family.

Always correct them privately.

What you say, where you say it and when you say it all matter.

You don’t want your team members to be afraid of you. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Perfect—that is, mature—love removes all intimidation (1 John 4:18).


Kindness matters. Gentleness does, too.

They’re both fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

It’s essential we use our organization to build people rather than using people to build our organization.

I talk about these strategies and more in my latest book, Building a Killer Team—Without Killing Yourself or Your Team.



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