Merge's Blog

Are kindness and compassion necessary in leadership?

A colleague made me aware of this story about kindness and compassion that ran in The Globe & Mail in December.

Are Vancouver’s residents as cold as the icy sidewalks?

Ms. Rosemary Blomeyer is a visually-impaired German immigrant in her eighties who every day, twice a day, asks a passerby to hold her arm and walk her a few blocks to and from the restaurant where she has breakfast every morning. And every day, twice a day, someone obliges. Some are repeat volunteers but just as many are strangers. When asked how this is possible in a city where people are supposedly cold and unfriendly, Ms. Blomeyer replies, “People are nice; you have to talk to them first.” She tells about how there are people who want to help, but fear they will be late for work. She laughs, “Is your boss going to shoot you, I ask them. They change their minds. I think it’s a sort of insecurity in people. Tell them you walked a blind lady, I say. They’ll forgive you. Bosses here aren’t that awful, are they?'”

Indeed, a heartwarming story about kindness and compassion. It got me thinking though – what would your response be if one of your employees offered this as an excuse for being late? Are you one of those “awful bosses” that Ms. Blomeyer refers to? Or does kindness and compassion trump punctuality and promptness? Share your point of view.

P.S. In case you’re wondering about my perspective on this subject, this post – It’s more important to be kind than clever – I wrote last year will show you where I stand.

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