When you think of successful people, kindness isn’t always the first word that springs to mind. Indeed, kindness has often been considered a weakness but it’s one of the most important aspects of professional life. While success may require resilience and steely determination, kindness is the key to longevity and growth.
And I’m not just saying this because #BeKind is trending on social media. Making kindness a priority in your workplace will create a more inclusive culture where people feel a sense of belonging, and in turn leading to improved performance, reduced sick leave and decreased employee turnover.
What’s so special about kindness?
Well, a little goes a long way…
- Better mental wellbeing
If you’re not happy at work (a place you spend the majority of your waking hours), then your mental health suffers. An unkind environment can be a major trigger of stress, especially when coupled with a demanding job role.
- Improved productivity
If you’re treated with kindness, you feel more confident to contribute and take on more responsibilities or larger projects. Plus, if you feel like you’re doing a good job, you’re more likely to actually do a good job!
- Motivation to collaborate
A team that’s encouraged to show kindness to each other is more inclined to want to work together – and work together well – helping to decrease incidents of exclusion.
- Greater creativity
Kindness is a keystone of creating psychologically safe workplaces. This, alongside increased collaboration, breeds creativity.
- Higher employee satisfaction
It goes without saying that a welcoming atmosphere creates a positive energy that is linked to high employee satisfaction.
- Increased retention
Professionals that get ahead by stomping on others do not foster loyalty. With satisfaction soaring, you’re also likely to witness higher employee retention.
But one of the greatest things about kindness is that it is economical! Not only are acts of kindness free, but studies show they snowball. Those who witness or receive kindness are likely to reciprocate and then pass to it forward to someone else, creating a positive ripple effect throughout a workplace’s culture.
This shows that your actions as a leader are vitally important. If kindness is catching, then by considering it a priority when you interact with your team, you’ll be reflecting how you wish them to treat each other and your clients.
What does kindness look like in the workplace?
When it comes to authentic kindness, leave the big gestures at home. While the below suggestions may seem trivial, small acts can make a real impact:
- Take the time to say “good morning” or “hello” to your colleagues
- Show consideration by offering to make the tea round
- When asking your colleagues “how are you?”, listen and be interested in how they really are
- Be more vocal in your praise and appreciation in team meetings
- Make time to get to know your colleagues by talking about things outside of work or organising a team lunch
Currently, with many of us working from home, we’re almost solely communicating through emails and digital apps, creating a lack of opportunity for personal interactions. Quick messages can seem blunt and aren’t the best vehicles for conveying gratitude or appreciation – two things that could bolster teams right now as they work under the constraints of lockdown.
You can still make room for kindness by using video calls to continue face-to-face conversations, taking time to check-in and make sure they’re coping ok, or writing thoughtful emails (or even letters) to express praise for individuals.
Don’t believe that kindness is about taking a backseat. You should never allow your kindness to be taken advantage of or prevent you from calling out someone’s poor conduct. Ensuring everyone is aware of what is and is not acceptable behaviour, and what happens if those rules are not followed, ensures that your acts of kindness – and subsequently those of your team – are made in an environment where they have the opportunity to make the most meaningful impact.
If you’d like to discover more about the positive impact kindness could have on your business, why not book one of our online workshops? Here we encourage open discussion and experience sharing to identify challenges, broaden awareness and increase understanding of positive workplace behaviour. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll jump on a video call.
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