Kindness in Leadership across Asia Pacific gathers momentum in Sri Lanka

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  • 50 leaders to be recognised as fostering a new status quo grounded on kindness and respect with nominations now open until 31 May 
  • Interbrand and Daily FT collaborate in Initiative to Promote Kindness in Leadership

The inaugural Kindness & Leadership Asia Pacific 50 Leading Lights campaign was  launched in Singapore on 25 March and in Sri Lanka on 13 May, with a view to challenge how the business world views success and to celebrate and encourage kindness in leadership in the region.

“Since its launch in Sri Lanka several nominations have been received by the organisers in London, who have extended the closing date till 31 May very specially for Sri Lanka. This is heartening indeed and we hope that many Sri Lankans will be recognised,” said Interbrand Sri Lanka and the Maldives Partner and Chairman Headlines PR Anusha David.

Open to men and women of all ages, the initiative was launched by the Women of the Future Programme and supported by headline sponsor Asia Square. It aims to shine a light on 50 individuals across Asia Pacific who are building a new status quo grounded on kindness and respect, and who are overturning leadership stereotypes. 

Nominations are open to both men and women of any age, senior leaders and rising stars.

There is no charge to submit a nomination.

Nominations must be submitted by another individual – self nominations are not permitted.

Having trouble starting your nomination? Take a look at the 10 principles of kindness and gain some insights into what you could include in a nomination – https://bit.ly/Kindnessprinciples.

Nominations can be submitted directly via their website – https://www.kindnessrules.co.uk/asiapacific/.

“The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy, business and our own personal lives. But it has also placed leadership under the microscope, accelerating our understanding of the challenges leaders face and the qualities required to navigate a way through a crisis. What can we learn from our experiences and how can we implement changes to ensure we build the resilience and adaptability required for COVID-19 recovery?” asks Pinky Lilani CBE DL, an internationally acclaimed champion for women, who is the force behind the Women of the Future Programme, a portfolio of global events, projects and networks that support women, and celebrate their talent and success.

Women of the Future Programme events include the Women of the Future Awards and Summit; the Asian Women of Achievement Awards and the Southeast Asia Awards. 

Over the last 25 years, Pinky has done an incredible amount to move the needle on gender equality and also to agitate change and progress on the diversity and inclusion agenda. In 2018, she launched the 50 Leading Lights campaign, highlighting the value of kindness in business. The campaign has been a great success, shifting perceptions of ‘strong’ leadership and in 2019 it launched in Southeast Asia.

Pinky has won several awards for her work and was listed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. She was also featured on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.  Pinky is a Fellow of the GSA; a member of the board of Global Diversity Practice; an Associate Fellow of Saïd Business School, Oxford; Patron of DIL, the Westminster Society and Frank Water. She is an Ambassador for the Tiffany Circle of the Red Cross. 

A recent global survey conducted by Hall & Partners, and inspired by a unique and separate collaboration with the Global Thinkers Forum, University of Oxford Saïd Business School and the Women of the Future Programme, has delved deep into global leadership styles that have been truly effective at this time. The one quality that shines out above all others? Kindness. 

The survey revealed that nearly three in five global workers (58%) believe the kind actions taken by their company during COVID-19 has made them want to stay longer than originally planned. Kind leadership has been key and will be even more critical in the coming months to keep staff motivated and engaged. 

“The survey has also pushed us further in our understanding of ‘kind’ leadership. Almost three quarters (74%) of respondents agree it’s more important to be adaptable rather than rallying, suggesting that action, rather than purely motivational talk is key in crisis. Historically, kindness in business has been seen as a ‘soft’ skill, and even a weakness. These results now point to kindness as the essential quality required when tough decision making is needed. Indeed kindness is being courageous in the midst of turmoil; it’s a long-term commitment to empowering and listening to others; it’s the tireless pursuit of inclusion, and it’s being honest, open and not sugar-coating the facts,” says Pinky.

“In this period of radical change, there has been plenty of radical thinking, too. Projects that may have taken years to come to fruition have cut through the red tape and been delivered in record time. The age old ‘flexible working isn’t an option’ line has been dealt an almighty blow.

“So much of what we thought was ‘just not possible’, has been proved wrong. So how can we take what we have learnt about effective leadership and ensure permanent cultural change that will help businesses and individuals to recover and thrive? The time is now to define the leadership style and business culture that we want to succeed and so I encourage you all to nominate remarkable kind leaders for the Kindness & Leadership, 50 Leading Lights Asia Pacific 2021 list. This leadership style is not a ‘nice-to-have’, it has the power to effect positive change in this fragile world.”

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