Years later, the thread also revealed, Nanjiani ran into Johnson at a party. “I told him how much his kindness meant to me. He said it was no big deal. But it was a big deal to me,” he explains. “You can tell a lot about someone by how they are to ppl they don’t have to be nice to.”

Managers, please take note of Johnson’s default kindness, especially during a moment when no one would have judged him for responding in a less generous way. Hopefully the heart-melting story is enough motivation to check your own behavior as a person with power. If not, think of your firm: Research has shown that leaders who are “nice” foster the same niceness in employees, who therefore behave civilly to each other and are more productive. They’re also more likely to stick around and feel less stressed. (Nanjiani also says he has tried to live by Johnson’s example.)

Recently Quartz at Work argued that more Silicon Valley companies are indeed naming kind, quiet types of leaders as CEOs, seeing the opportunity in it. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, professor of leadership practice at the Yale School of Management, agreed, saying the attitude among investors and the public has shifted: Those who “are not placing themselves in center of universe” have fresh appeal.

Should you recognize that you’re an egomaniac by nature, however, or that becoming “a somebody” has brought out only your most callous traits, there’s still hope. Managers who worry they’re not kind enough can work on it by practicing “perspective-taking” as a habit, David Dubois, an assistant professor at the French graduate business school INSEAD told the Chicago Tribune last year.

“In other words,” he explained, “they can develop the habit of asking, ‘What does the person in front of me think and want?’ or ‘If I were on the other side of the table, what would seem fair?’”

With training, the force will… you know.

Read the entire thread Kumail Nanjiani thread here:

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