How people are really rating your leadership (and what you need to focus on the most)

“I’ve got your purse” said a complete stranger on the phone. At that moment I realised I left my purse inside a toilet facility at the Bella Vista train station in Sydney yesterday.  To track me down, James used my name on my driver’s license to find me on LinkedIn. From there, he found my website which listed my mobile number. Great effort and detective work by James! James then offered to drive back to the station for the purse exchange while I quickly jumped trains and backtracked the 8 or so stops to Bella Vista.

The photo above is of James and I outside the station yesterday together with a Metro Transport Officer who also wanted to make sure I got my purse back.

Random acts of kindness are a beautiful reminder of how precious kindness is.

Kindness is the choice of doing something for someone with no self-interest or self-gain.

Kindness and care help build richness, goodwill and trust in our relationships.  Kindness is something that we do because we can, not because we should.

Being kind is being right – it’s the right thing do.

Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy’s research demonstrated that even before establishing their own credibility or competence, leaders who project warmth are more effective than people who lead with toughness. In other words, kindness accelerates trust¹.

The Royal Commission into the financial services sector brought the spotlight on trust, authenticity, accountability and the need for companies to do the right thing. The findings showed widespread entrenched approaches to doing things ‘our way’ (self-interest) versus ‘the right way’ (customer-interest). Financial services organisations now have to demonstrate they are doing the right thing even if it means losing revenue. A great lesson for us all.

Power, greed and self-interest are all born out of fear. Fear disconnects us in relationships.

From a leadership perspective, doing the right thing has to be seen as a considerable strength in bringing people on a journey that matters.  Choosing to do the right thing can’t be seen as risky or career limiting or where leaders are perceived as being difficult. Fighting the good fight and bringing others along through a leadership lens of care and integrity will, in my view, shape leadership effectiveness now more than ever.


People are looking for meaning and purpose in their roles over and above a list of things of things to do. People want to know how their contribution contributed to the greater good. People want to make a positive difference to those they work with as well as the customers they ultimately serve, which has little to do with profit. People won’t come on the journey with you and be with you at any stage of it, if they perceive you don’t care.

The side of your leadership that people want to see the most is the side that shows them that you care. If they perceive you don’t care, why should they?

Kindness and generosity allow us to make a positive difference to others and we experience that through meaningful connection.

Where does doing the right thing and choosing to care enough start?

By trusting ourselves enough to do the right thing and valuing caring for others.

Leadership standards and accountability start with every leader, top down.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less – C.S. Lewis

Your leadership standards are reflected in how you show up as a leader, that is, how your reactions, actions and decisions are perceived that is driving the quality of your relationships and spheres of influence. Your standards are revealed when things don’t go your way, when there is conflict, when people really bug you, when people ‘don’t get it’ or don’t move fast enough, when you or others make mistakes, and when you’re simply ‘too busy’.

What leadership standards do you want to hold yourself accountable for so that you can lead consistently with care and integrity? I’d love to know.


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