INSTANT MBA: Kindness Is A Virtue In Business Leadership, Too

barbara debuono

Photo: Orbis

Today’s advice comes from Orbis International CEO Barbara DeBuono’s interview with The New York Times:“Be very careful that you don’t cut yourself off from everyone, either by hanging out in your office by yourself or hanging out in your office or your suite with three or four key people.”

Instead, DeBuono advises to take a page out of her father’s book. As a school principal, he made sure to patrol hallways, know every student’s first name, and engage with each of them regularly. That helped students feel more responsibility while they were at school — they followed rules better and stayed more focused, DeBuono says.

And that’s exactly what she tries to cultivate at Orbis International, a health organisation that deals with blindness. DeBuono says she makes a point to have honest, frank discussions with her staffers, always with a positive and constructive spin. It’s helping to create a more open environment with more meaningful dialogue, she says.

And clearly, people are more receptive, understanding, and willing to contribute and improve in an environment with a leader who isn’t scary or needlessly ruthless.

“Kindness is another very important element of leadership — you have to convey humanity and humility. “

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