As a leader, if you want to drive transformation, intelligence and kindness are powerful tools you need. Although, the world is going in the direction of high intelligence and almost zero kindness because leaders often seek intelligence but pay lip service to modeling kindness. Some even perceive kindness as a weakness.
However, when we pay attention to our teams, we can discover some interesting patterns that require us to take a step back and review our leadership style regarding the intelligence-kindness philosophy.
Having served C-level executives and other senior leaders as an executive coach over the years, I have discovered four patterns of culture inspired by how leaders maintain the intelligence-kindness balance in their teams.
1. A Culture Of Anarchy
When leaders focus on intelligence but discourage kindness, they inspire a culture of anarchy. With this, the organization records average performance with the team experiencing high levels of depression and burnout, and the organization experiences a cyclical attrition rate. In this culture, leaders mostly adopt an aggressive tone—threatening, attacking or ignoring others.
2. A Culture Of Mediocrity
When leaders discourage intelligence but focus on kindness, they inspire a culture of mediocrity. With this, the organization records poor performance with the team’s capacities largely untapped. Some of the leaders who have experienced a culture of anarchy on their career journey tend to overcompensate by implementing a total shift from an absolute focus on intelligence to an absolute focus on kindness.
3. A Culture Of Stagnation
When leaders discourage both intelligence and kindness, they inspire a culture of stagnation. With this, the organization, the team and each individual team member experience stagnation. According to People Management, “When Google surveyed its teams in 2017 and asked them the number one attribute of great teams, psychological safety came out on top.” In this culture, people don’t feel secure to voice their concerns or make contributions due to a history of intimidation, suppression or condemnation by leadership.
4. A Culture Of Peak Performance
When leaders focus their energy on both intelligence and kindness, they can create a culture of peak performance. This culture enables productivity, engagement, synergy and high morale, which are the catalysts for operational efficiency, innovation and increased sales and revenue.
Here are three strategies leaders can adopt to inspire a culture of peak performance:
1. Service Orientation
Leaders who inspire a culture of peak performance should understand that excellence flows from the top to the bottom of the organization. They understand that the effectiveness of the front lines in delivering excellent customer experience to external customers is predicated on the front lines themselves receiving excellent customer experience from both their internal service providers and their leaders.
Leaders who inspire a culture of peak performance should adopt a collaborative style in their team engagement rather than command and control, which characterizes a culture of anarchy. Even if you were accustomed to a culture of mediocrity, try to retool and reskill yourself to find a healthy results-driven balance between intelligence and kindness.
3. Personal Responsibility
Leaders who inspire a culture of peak performance should commit to modeling kindness. Be intentional about showing genuine kindness in your quest to drive performance. These leaders are not passive; neither are they aggressive. Rather, they understand assertiveness and they deploy it by balancing firmness and friendliness to get results.
You can gain more insights for cultivating a culture of peak performance at the Dr. Abiola Salami International Leadership BootCamp holding in Nairobi, Kenya from 25th – 28th October, 2023. We curated this leadership bootcamp to equip leaders with strategies to navigate complex challenges and deliver peak performance for their organizations, reshape their industries as we together build Africa to a great continent.
The main faculty for this edition comprise Prof. Dana Born of Harvard University; Dr. Mosun Belo Olusoga, 1st female Chairman of Access Bank Plc; and Dr. Abiola Salami, Worldclass Performance Strategist. Through a rich faculty, advanced studies in critical areas and a series of activities, the bootcamp presents Senior Leaders with the opportunity to reflect, restrategize, rejuvenate and reskill for peak performance. Dr. Abiola Salami International Leadership BootCamp,
About Dr. Abiola Salami
Dr. Abiola Salami is the Convener of Dr Abiola Salami International Leadership Bootcamp,The Peak Performer Recognition,The Peak Performing Woman of The Yearand Publisher/Editor-in-Chief ofThe Peak PerformerTM. He is the Principal Performance Strategist at CHAMP – a full scale professional services firm trusted by high performing business leaders for providing Executive Coaching, Workforce Development & Advisory Services to improve performance. You can reach him on email@example.com and connect with him @abiolachamp on all social media platforms.