Ellen was right: kindness matters
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they can do in return, but because of who you are.” — Harold S. Kushner
Ellen DeGeneres and former President George W. Bush made news recently. I am sure you heard about it.
The two were spotted sitting next to one another at a Dallas Cowboys football game. For some reason this set off a firestorm as to why the two were laughing and having a good time together. It somehow didn’t fit the mold of some people’s mindset.
How could a gay Hollywood liberal be laughing and having a good time with the former president — a conservative Republican?
I believe the answer is more simple than some try to make it. They didn’t look at one another through the lens of a label. They looked at one another through the lens of friendship.
Like Ellen, and like most of you reading this; we all have friends who are different from us. They hold different political views, religious views, and have different sexual orientations, etc. And I, for one, am thankful for this. Our diversity is not our weakness, it’s our strength.
Speaking about the controversy, Ellen said, “We’re all different. And I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different.” She added, “When I say be kind to one another I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn’t matter.”
What Ellen said is a reminder for everyone about the need for civility and is also a powerful lesson in leadership. It’s needed today more than ever.
When I released my first book, “Leaders Without Borders: 9 Essentials For Everyday Leaders,” back in 2010, I believed so strongly that kindness was one of the essential qualities of leadership that I devoted a chapter to it. In the world of leadership, kindness matters.
In leadership, as in life, you will cross paths with people who are different from you. Some will be more difficult to lead than others. The challenges are as varied as people. And as a leader, how you treat people and practice the art of kindness will speak volumes about your leadership. Here are a few reminders worth noting.
Treat people the way you want to be treated
This is a timeless principle. It’s a principle that most people were raised on. It’s time to dust it off and live it. Be that leader.
Take the high road
Getting in the mud with the pig might make the pig happy, but you will only get dirty. Your leadership should be marked by what you do to lift those around you. Be that leader.
Be a defender of good
The morale of your organization is only as good as your expectations. Goodness will only prevail as good people rise up and defend it. Be that leader.
Be an example of kindness
In a day and time when we are as divided and polarized as ever, we need more random acts of kindness and leaders who demonstrate it. Set differences aside and do what’s right. Be that leader.
Thank you, Ellen and George, for reminding us what being kind is all about in a not-so-kind world at times. Maybe this one small act will spark something big. Perhaps Ellen will have George on the show to continue the dialogue. I’d love to be there.
And yes, George needs to pay back the $6 for the nachos.
©2019 Doug Dickerson
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