Kindness is something we’re hearing more and more about in the workplace. No different than any other environment, this is one where the benefits of simple, kind gestures are significant.
Recently we spoke with two of our members to get their perspective on the importance of kindness in the workplace.
Steffi Black, Spread the Kindness Advocate in both schools and organizations, shared how “people who feel cared for want to return that kindness by working hard. And, that organizations with warm and compassionate environments have higher employee engagement and productivity”. She also spoke about the importance of kindness as a tool in forging connection with others and ultimately creating a higher standard of leadership. “In our hectic, stressed, industrialized world, we often don’t take the time to truly connect with one another. We rush to meetings and nod at people around us; we knock someone’s shoulder and mumble a quick hello; we avoid eye contact with people in hallways. Some of us don’t even know the name of the janitor who has worked in the building for decades or the cleaning people who come each week. Kindness reminds us to slow down, listen, and pay attention to those around us a little bit more. It’s one of our most important tools in forging connections – something as simple as a warm smile can set the tone for a positive relationship exchange.”
Karen Hager, Director of Science Engagement for the Ontario Science Centre, shared some key learning from her participation in our 12 Days of Business Kindness (12DaysofBizRAK) campaign. She noted how people really took notice of each of the small gestures of kindness the she made over the course of 12 days. She also noted that her gestures may have in fact been contagious. Providing kindness seemed also to encourage kindness from and amongst others. Karen also points out that being a kind leader does not mean taking your focus away from goals and results. “Everyone needs to understand the key goals and objectives – and leading by example is key. Walk the Walk…Talk the Talk…we know the drill, but layering in a level of kindness in all we do paves the way in a much more effective manner. This may include lending a hand, offering an empathetic ear or providing some words of encouragement or gratitude. These are small things that can go a long way in building trust and engagement, and ultimately in helping you achieve key goals. When everyone knows that challenges or successes will be dealt with using the same kindness and thoughtfulness, it is much easier to manage and convey expectations in a way that builds alignment.”
Today marks Random Acts of Kindness Day, presenting another great reminder for us to spread some brightness with those around us and to set the stage for a higher standard of leadership. As Steffi points out, “kindness is a powerful transformational change agent – it’s a warrior for warmth, inclusivity, caring, and, yes, even accountability”.
What will you do to make the days of those around you just a little bit better?