Most leadership books list several styles of leadership. They have different names, but some of the main categories are the leaders that coerce and drive their people to “Do what I say”. Another style may be the “Come with me” approach. There are those leaders that take a “People come first” style. Others my lead in a more democratic fashion. Or they may view themselves as a coach. The hypothesis is generally that an effective leader can readily switch between styles when needed.
The leader has a responsibility to maintain and sometimes set the standards for the organization or the team. Inevitably someone breaks the rules and the leader is left with the responsibility to “Deal with it”. A leader that is both fair and kind has to strike that balance between the justice and mercy part of leadership. A leader sometimes has to make judgments about people, events, ideas, direction.
This goes beyond the golden rule “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matt. 7:12). It is more than that. It is balancing their desire to be treated as they would like to be treated with the necessity of fairly applying the rules to everyone.
In my life, I have found that more leaders have difficulty with the kindness part of leadership than they to with enforcing the rules. We would all do well to remember this poem.
I have wept in the nightWe need to remember that our team members are children of our Heavenly Father. President Thomas S. Monson exemplifies this principle better than anyone. He said:
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.
Author unknown, in Richard L. Evans, “The Quality of Kindness,” Improvement Era, May 1960, 340
"May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God’s children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total strangers. As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way. (Thomas S. Monson, Love-the Essence of the Gospel, April 2014 General Conference)Finally, I would like to conclude with this scripture. May each of us seek to be merciful.
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. 5:7.)