Can we make a difference by being kind and courageous. We know we can and there is research behind this.

The day my 13 year old daughter Abby came home from school in tears because her best friend started bullying her was a day I will never forget.

Only a few weeks prior her best friend had lived with us for a week due to issues with her own family and we offered our home and kindness to take her in. She wanted to stay longer but as a single mum I couldn’t take her for longer.

The day my 13 year old daughter Abby came home from school in tears because her best friend started bullying her was a day I will never forget.

Only a few weeks prior her best friend had lived with us for a week due to issues with her own family and we offered our home and kindness to take her in. She wanted to stay longer but as a single mum I couldn’t take her for longer.

She had decided to start bullying my daughter and then started paying her friends to bully her too. Abby was devastated and then it started to become cyber-bullying. No-one could help us – her parents, the school or even the police did nothing. I had taught my daughter about kindness and courage – and it made no difference - they did not understand kindness nor being inclusive.

It became worse and she started self-harming.

At 14 she left school and had her first suicide attempt a few weeks later. It was an incredibly tough time and she has come out of the other side.

Her story is not uncommon. In turn, even today we hear many stories of bullying and poor leadership - and the impact it has on people’s lives, mental health, families, businesses and so forth.

In turn, we hear so many stories of poor leadership in the news and media and this impacts how our future generations see and feel about leadership. We know of many amazing people, unsung heroes and organisations who are doing remarkable things by their truly kind and brave acts of leadership. There are lots of great leaders out there and we need to share their stories and celebrate their leadership. This is why we are working very hard to bring to Australia our Outstanding Leadership Awards to inspire everyone to change – we need more kind and courageous leaders.

This is why we are on this movement to build a world of courageous and kind leadership. We know without a doubt that courageous leadership inspires action. We know kindness builds trust which is the missing link for Executives today. This is why in our leadership work, programs, awards and coaching it is a fundamental focus as we have seen the transformation.

There is research that proves this.

Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy, along with her research partners, have demonstrated that even before establishing their own credibility or competence, leaders who project warmth are more effective than people who lead with toughness. Basically, kindness and warmth appears to accelerate trust.

But, the link between kindness and great leadership extends beyond just the relationship you have with employees. Interestingly enough, it could also increase employee performance.

Consider this. Researchers at Oxford University analysed hundreds of published papers that studied the relationship between kindness and happiness. They uncovered 21 studies that explicitly prove that being kind to others makes us happier. Add to that research from the University of Warwick that revealed that people are 12 percent more productive at work than unhappy people.

Interesting isn’t it? Imagine how this would impact in our everyday lives if our leaders and future generations embraced kindness and courage.

The impact on kind and courageous leadership does not only make a difference at work but in every aspect of our lives. We need our children to see that as fast as the world is changing and as scary it seems, that we are all human and there is hope. It takes kindness, leadership and courage.

Wouldn’t we want them to embrace that and show this in their everyday actions and words. Wouldn’t we want our people within our teams and organisations to embrace Leadership where they see this word about how they can make a difference and impact.

Remember we can be strong as leaders and show kindness. We can be courageous as leaders and show fear. We can all be leaders without the title or role. It’s an attitude, choice and action.

It only takes one act of intentional kindness and courage to make a difference.

Tomorrow my daughter is starting her first day at University to study social work as she wants to make a difference with disadvantaged people. She wants to study her PhD eventually and she is the kindest and bravest person I know. I am so proud of her and she is proud of the work we do as well as she wants that kind and brave world for all.

Learn more about our Awards here and how you can become a partner or buy a ticket and even nominate.

Find out more about our leadership programs, workshops and coaching here at McDonald Inc.

Stay tuned for my 12 Rules of Kindness and 12 Rules of Courage soon.

Please share below what you can do today or tomorrow to be kind and courageous.

Let’s start a movement and see where the Kind, Courageous and Leadership ripple effect takes us.

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