Leadership Lesson: Be Kind

When I was in Hong Kong, I learned how to be a bigger b*tch. Everything was fast paced and everyone was on top of their games. I worked with the best of the best, and loved it.

I worked from 7:30am until after midnight, answering queries from my Blackberry. I walked fast, thought fast and worked fast.

I learned impatience in Hong Kong.

When people blocked my way, I couldn’t hide my irritation. “Don’t they have anywhere else to go?” I’d puffed.

When people were incompetent, I’d think, “How stupid can you get?”

When people earned a lot less, I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth wouldn’t they just work harder and smarter like me so they’d earn more.

I lived in a bubble when I felt I was better than everyone else. In other words, I became a complete @ss.

When I came back to Manila, I was still an @ss. I thank my family and friends for tolerating my high and mighty attitude at that time.

What I learned after managing a business here for a few years?

Don’t be an ass!

Be kind to others!

For one, it’s in the Bible and God is always right.


Two, Filipinos have a bad crab mentality. There is zero benefit in being arrogant and a show off in the Philippines. If you are too arrogant, people WILL put you down. Fact.

Everyone here loves a good underdog story.

There’s Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who was her family’s breadwinner and through poise and grace, became Miss Universe in 2015. She is the third Miss Universe from the Phippines after a drought of 42 years.

There’s Manny Pacquiao, a poor boxer who threw the Philippines into the limelight.

No matter how rich and successful you are, you cannot be an asshole in the Philippines. If you are arrogant, collectively, people will tear you down.

It is okay to do wrong things here if you do it with a smile. We call it pakikisama. It means to adjust towards the other person. If you want something done here, you need to know pakikisama. Many times, it’s not about right or wrong, but rather it’s about how you do things.

For example, you get caught by the MMDA.

You know most likely there was no violation and it’s most likely the officer is trying to fill his daily quota.

So you argue that he’s wrong and you’re right, and that you will report him to your friend who works for the city hall.

He is a bit surprised and becomes defensive. Both of your voices escalate and you still end up with a ticket and a stiff fine.

Compare it to being nice and considerate. When the officer flags you down, you roll down your windows and smile. You ask what is the problem and patiently wait until he tells you your violation.

Then you ask, “I’m sorry sir, I didn’t know. Can we talk about this? I am in a rush to work and my boss might fire me if I am late again. Can you let me go this one time?”

Surprisingly, if you ask nicely and talk politely, the MMDA might let you go.

Again, it’s not about being right or wrong here. It’s more about treating the person you’re talking to with respecy and not waving your wealth and authority around.

You see, while Filipinos are typically forgiving and tolerant of corrupt officials who steal from them, tbey are still ok to re-elect politicians so long as they don’t steal too much and still use public funds for the poor.

That was the problem of Mayor Binay, who threw his weight around when his son tried to enter a private subdivision. It was a big issue back then.

When the family may have used public funds for private means, nobody said a peep. But when they tried to bully their way into a private subdision and had the guards who were only doing their jobs arrested, everyone put up a ruckus.

Ay, lumalaki na ang ulo. Sobrang yabang nila!” People screamed.

It’s ok to be rich, popular and successful here, but don’t throw your weight around unless you’d want to be put in your place.

Horray to the crab mentality!

Three, the kinder you are to others, the more people will like and help you especially when it matters.

I try to make it a point on being nice to the people working around me. As a boss, I appreciate what they do, and if they’re efficient and have a good attitude about their work, then I try my best to show them I appreciate them.

On Christmas, I give them goody bags and red envelopes. On regular days, I always smile and greet them back.

I do this because I know I need them. They’re there for extra security and come the time something happens, I do want them to help. It’s hard to help when your boss is an ass, but when you are kind to others, they in return are kind to you.

In Conclusion

When I read stories of rich assholes, I can’t help but shake my head. There is no upside to being an arrogang bitch. Zero!

If you want to be successful, you need every help you can get. While you may have made your own money, you had to employ a lot of other people’s help to do so. It is easier and cheaper to get other people’s help if you are a nice person.

Succeas is already hard to get. So be nice and make it a lot easier. Because when you are nice and kind, most normal people will help you. And once you are successful, they will envy you less. Since you are nice to them, they are less likely to put you down when you’re already down.

There are so many upsides to being nice and kind. Why not be nice and kind starting today?

Comments appreciated below.

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