Jennifer Twiner McCarron is an award-winning producer, who is the CEO and Chairman of Thunderbird entertainment group.
Leading with kindness cannot be overemphasized. When former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation, she was asked what she wanted people to remember about her leadership. Her answer was simple, poignant: “As someone who always tried to be nice.”
As a business leader, I can empathize. When I’m done with my career, I want to be remembered for how I made people feel and how I supported them. Leading with kindness influences every action I take as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Thunderbird Entertainment Group. Guess what? It’s also good for business.
Kindness can help you build a healthier organization.
Make no mistake, kindness is not a weakness. According to the VIA Institute for Character, kindness is identified as a strength within the virtue category of humanity. It requires integrity and includes strong principles such as honesty and compassion. As a leader, this can mean having challenging conversations and providing direct one-on-one feedback in a safe environment. Giving people meaningful feedback and coaching them in their career growth is part of showing integrity. In fact, it can even be considered one leadership superpower. Avoiding difficult conversations is not being nice. You help your team build resilience and self-reliance, leading to a healthier organization for everyone.
Positive attracts positive.
The law of attraction is based on the belief that positive energy attracts positive energy. While some may think this is pseudoscience, I like to think of the law of attraction in the context of people management. When we work with people who share our core values, including kindness, we get the best results.
At Thunderbird, our human-centric approach means we treat people as individuals, not numbers, because without our talent we are nothing. Since joining the company in 2011, I’ve seen our team grow to over 1,300 people across four offices. Even with this growth, it’s important to prioritize and nurture encounters with different team members, no matter how senior or junior they are. Peer-to-peer learning, mentorship, knowledge sharing – these are all examples of how we can create space and time to build and nurture a work culture based on shared values. This becomes all the more relevant in the context of labor shortages. Providing learning opportunities to support career growth is part of the solution to the challenge of attracting the right people and retaining top talent.
Mistakes can lead to magic.
During a company’s journey to greatness, there will also be times when things go wrong. Recognize that these bumps are opportunities that will allow you to course correct for future success. It is so important to show kindness by reassuring others not to be afraid to make mistakes, because these are the times when the best work blossoms. Like Taylor Swift recently said“You have to give yourself permission to fail.”
Empathy can help you overcome obstacles.
Empathy works like a secret weapon when navigating business challenges. It allows you to see through the surface and understand another person’s perspective. It also empowers you to be an architect of change and advance the issues that matter to your business.
We embrace this approach through the content we create by striving for positive change through entertainment. Our show, for example Molly from Denali explores themes of kindness and empathy by encouraging young audiences to embrace diversity. Similar to this fictional character, when we remove judgment and emotion from our business interactions, we often realize how much more alike we are than we are different and how we are stronger together.