On Kindness

The ‘hard’ stuff:

Pragmatism, efficiency, metrics, decisiveness, action, toughness, resilience, the bottom line.

The ‘soft’ stuff:

Kindness, compassion, love, generosity, vulnerability.

Though, of course, none of the soft stuff is soft at all. Genuine kindness, compassion, love, and generosity all call us into an I-You relationship with others. They require us to meet the other person openly, to abandon all the ways we’d use them for our own ends. They demand we meet people as they are, not as we would have them be. And rather than being soft, all of this takes great openness and even greater courage.

In the everyday life of work we’ve become used to calling these qualities ‘soft’ simply because we’re too scared to do anything else.