This topic runs the risk of being trite. I get that. But it's important enough to me that I wanted to post something.
There are those who go through life without much care for those around them, some famously so as they rampage to the top of their respective spheres. Often in business, we elevate these people and many young, aspiring leaders seek to emulate them in all aspects.
I’m not a psychologist, sociologist, nor anthropologist, so I won’t opine on the origins of this approach to life.
Instead, I’ll talk about the impact on others. When you treat your life as a zero-sum game that needs to be won, and you’re hell-bent on winning at all costs, it shows clearly in your actions. Kindness and compassion are viewed as weaknesses, slowing you down or even preventing you from winning. Those around you feel the effects, and either shut down (not bringing their best selves) or perpetuate the cycle.
I deeply, wholeheartedly disagree with this approach to work and to life. You can be highly competitive and still be kind. You can make gut-wrenching decisions and still be kind. You can strive daily to do your best and still show compassion to those around you.
This holds especially true if you're a manager or in a position of leadership. Being kind is important for everyone, but it is critical for leaders.