Many people think of a business leader as a ruthless tycoon who cuts the workforce with one hand while cracking the whip with the other. It’s time for a kinder, gentler C-suite, suggest consultants and coaches in these new books on applying the Golden Rule to the bottom line.

Compassionate Leadership

Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter. Harvard Business Review, Jan. 2022

In times of worldwide economic upheaval, it’s easy to think that being an effective leader is incompatible with being a good human being. To the contrary, say business consultants Hougaard and Carter, strong leadership means making difficult decisions with integrity and compassion. PW’s review praised the authors’ “no-nonsense approach,” calling the book “an accessible, handy reference for those eager to lead with kindness.”

The Double Bottom Line

Donato Tramuto, with Tami Booth Corwin. Fast Company, Mar. 2022

Kindness and strong leadership are inextricably intertwined, writes former Tivity Health CEO Tramuto. He advocates for building trust and creating a supportive work environment in order to improve morale, increase productivity, and grow profits.

Employees First!

Donna Cutting. Career Press, Apr. 2022

Employee retention starts with workers’ first day on the job, says Cutting, founder and CEO of consulting firm Red Carpet Learning Systems, and hinges on supervisors extending the same welcome they want those employees, in turn, to show customers. Leaders should ensure that employees are offered both the tangible (equitable pay) and the intangible (a mission-driven culture) to help them feel seen and cared about from day one.

Leading with Empathy

Gautham Pallapa. Wiley, Dec.

Workers in 2021 are dealing with an unprecedented volume of stressors, and managers need to respond with compassion, asserts executive advisor Pallapa. This requires acknowledging the effects of the pandemic, racial injustice, and economic upheaval, and developing empathy on both a personal and organizational level in order to support a stressed, overwhelmed workforce.

Smart Growth

Whitney Johnson. Harvard Business Review, Jan. 2022

A company is only as good as its employees, and human capital consultant Johnson urges leaders to view workers as their greatest asset. By coaching employees through the three phases of growth—what she terms the launch point, the sweet spot, and mastery—managers and executives can develop a workforce that drives the company’s mission forward.

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