The world is hard right now. Full stop. There are tons of helpful posts flying around the interwebs, my own included. On a personal note, this is THE time to really focus on self-care at the most basic level. Prioritize sleep. Move your body. Drink lots of water. That’s your foundation, and it’s critically important.

But what about leading? You might be facing layoffs, staff changes, contractor cuts, or complete closures for an unknown period of time. How does anyone deal with this? I wish there was a set of instructions or a check list I could offer, but in lieu of that, I’ll offer the best summary I can: Be Kind.

Yes, all of these things will probably need to happen. Yes, they will be very hard, and yes, they can be done kindly. Think about how you communicate difficult things. Is your messaging kind? Consider your conversations. How can you come from a place of kindness and empathy when everything in you might be trying to get them over with as quickly as possible?

Slow down. Take a breath. Allow yourself to be human as you do hard things right now. How would you want to receive difficult news? My guess is that some human kindness would go a long way.

Leading with kindness isn’t about not doing hard things. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s doing hard things with integrity and compassion. It’s not avoiding the difficult conversations; it’s facing them head on and with your heart.

When all of this is a distant memory, this is what people will remember. They’ll remember how you treated them, even when the situation was unpleasant. They’ll remember how they felt after interacting with you. They’ll remember your kindness.

Take care of yourself. Keep that foundation strong. Lead with kindness. We can do hard things (hat tip: Glennon Doyle.)