Gentle Leadership: what it is and why to promote it in the company

At a time when empathy, collaboration and employee well-being are increasingly recognised as key to productivity and job satisfaction, the promotion of Kind Leadership can bring numerous benefits to a company.

When we talk about this type of leadership, we refer to an emerging management philosophy that focuses on an empathetic and collaborative approach to leading people within a company. In this article we delve into its characteristics and all the best ways to adopt it within your business.


What is leadership?

Leadership is a complex concept that refers to a person’s ability to lead a group towards the achievement of common goals. It may take different forms depending on the context and type of work, but in general it involves the ability to guide, motivate, make decisions and positively influence others to achieve shared results.

Leadership involves a range of skills, behaviours and qualities that include:

  • Vision and goals. A leader has a clear vision of goals and directions. He is able to convey this vision to others in an engaging manner.
  • Communication. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is crucial.
  • Conscious leadership. A leader has the ability to influence and guide others, encouraging adherence to the common vision and inspiring actions and behaviour that lead to the achievement of goals.
  • Motivation and inspiration. The leader knows how to motivate and inspire his team. This concerns the ability to recognise and exploit the strengths of each individual and to stimulate them to give their best.
  • Planning. Leadership requires the ability to make informed and strategic decisions, plan actions and resources to achieve established goals.
  • Empathy and relationship management. Being empathetic and able to manage relationships is crucial. A leader must be able to understand the needs and perspectives of others and know how to build positive relationships within the team.
  • Adaptability and resilience. In an ever-changing environment, the ability to adapt to change and face challenges with resilience is crucial.


How leadership has changed in history

Throughout history, the concept and approach to leadership has undergone significant changes, reflecting the evolution of social, economic, political and technological contexts. 

In the past, hierarchical structures were more rigid. Leaders exercised more direct and authoritarian control over the people under their leadership. This dominant leadership style was common in military, monarchical and authoritarian contexts. During the 20th century, there was a growing interest in charismatic and transformational leadership. This type of leadership emphasises the charisma of the leader, his ability to inspire and motivate others through his personality and vision.

Over time, the idea has emerged that a good leader must adapt to the needs of the context and the people he or she leads. Situational leadership suggests that an effective leadership style depends on the situation and the state of maturity or competence of the team members. In the modern era, there has been an evolution towards a more collaborative and participative leadership style. Leaders now tend to involve team members in the decision-making process, encouraging the participation of each individual and seeking to establish an open dialogue.

In recent decades, there has been an increased emphasis on the importance of ethical values in leadership. Leaders must not only be results-oriented, but also guided by ethical principles, social responsibility and sustainability.

With the advent of technology and the digital age, leaders must adapt to managing:

  • Teams in virtual environments;
  • Online resources;
  • Using digital platforms to better communicate and execute business operations.


These changes in leadership styles reflect the complexity and diversity of the contexts in which leaders operate. The modern approach often seeks to integrate different styles according to the situation and the nature of the tasks at hand, incorporating elements of charisma, participation, ethics and adaptability to effectively lead the team to contemporary challenges.


Main leadership models

Each leadership model has its own characteristics, strengths and weaknesses and the effectiveness of each can vary depending on the context and the people involved. Leaders often integrate several models and adopt a flexible leadership style according to the needs of the business and team members. Below we have listed the most commonly used models.

  • Transformational: focuses on a leader’s ability to inspire and motivate team members through a shared vision, personal charisma and drive for innovation. This model promotes confidence, enthusiasm and creativity.
  • Transactional: it is based on the exchange between the leader and the team members, in which expectations, rewards and consequences for achieving goals are defined.
  • Situational: states that a leader should adapt his or her leadership style according to the situation and the maturity level of the team members. This implies that different leadership styles are adopted simultaneously depending on the context and the people being addressed.
  • Charismatic Leadership: focuses on the personality and charisma of the leader to influence and inspire the group. This model emphasises the leader’s vision and his ability to mobilise the support of team members.
  • Democratic Leadership: Involves team members in the entire decision-making process. Democratic leaders seek the active involvement of the whole team in every area of the company.
  • Transglobal Leadership: this model focuses on leadership in a global and multicultural context. It involves awareness and understanding of cultural differences to lead effectively in a global environment.
  • Gentle leadership: an emerging management philosophy that focuses on an empathetic and collaborative approach to leading people within a company.


What is gentle leadership?

Gentle Leadership is distinguished by its humane approach to human resources management. It is based on principles of active listening, kindness and mutual trust, encouraging leaders to consider the emotional and personal needs of their employees. In contrast to the traditional approach, Gentile Leadership emphasises:

  • Empowerment;
  • Creating meaningful connections;
  • Building positive relationships.


Promoting this type of leadership in the company can bring significant benefits, improve corporate culture, increase the effectiveness of teams and promote the general well-being of employees. It is the evolution towards a vision of modern leadership, capable of facing the challenges of the working world in a more human and effective way.


The figure of the gentle leader

The importance of the gentle leader lies in his or her ability to build more cohesive, productive and happy teams. This type of leadership not only improves employee satisfaction, but can also lead to better business results, higher talent retention and a healthier organisational climate. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to contribute significantly to the company’s success. A kind leader engages in clear and respectful communication, creates a safe space where employees feel free to express their ideas, without fear of being judged.


Benefits and effectiveness

Gentle leadership creates a more positive and inclusive work environment. It promotes collaboration, empathy and mutual trust among team members, contributing to a more harmonious corporate culture. As mentioned in the previous section, gentle leadership helps to reduce turnover and promote employee retention.

A kind leader pays attention to the well-being of employees, helping to reduce stress and promote a healthy working atmosphere. This can lead to greater professional and personal satisfaction. Kindness in leaders encourages a more constructive approach to conflict management. This can help resolve internal tensions and maintain a harmonious working environment. The greatest benefit is that it can easily build trusting relationships with employees to foster communication, constructive feedback and a strong and sincere sense of belonging to the business.


If you are interested in implementing a corporate culture based on kindness and are looking for leaders who embody this quality, Kilpatrick offers specialised consultancy in finding and selecting the best kind leaders on the market for your company.


Contact us to find out how we can help you identify and develop leaders who create a positive impact on your business environment and growth results.