Being kind is an often-overlooked behaviour in the workplace, but one that research suggests would lead the ‘givers’ of kindness to have lower stress levels and a greater feeling of happiness. According to Dr. Stephen Post, author of How to Live a Longer, Happier, Healthier Life by the Simple Act of Giving, being kind leads ‘givers’ to be healthier and more resilient, as well as more creative, hopeful, and successful.
And the good news is it’s easy to be kind! But it does require that you think more about others than yourself. You can’t be kind by isolating yourself and not reaching out to people. Kindness is about being generous with your time and with compliments, being respectful, being compassionate, and generally having concern for others. Remember, being kind is not the sign of a ‘soft’ or weak leader – it is a sign of strength.
Our May 2017 blog, Positive leaders shape a culture of positivity offered tips for keeping the workplace positive – a key ingredient for encouraging a culture of greater kindness. Here are some examples of ways to be kind in the workplace:
Reach out to offer support:
- Recognize when colleagues appear to be overwhelmed with tasks – see if you can help – perhaps you can chair a phone conference, offer to co-lead a project, or simply provide support by talking through any stumbling blocks on a project.
Give others an opportunity to shine:
- Take the spotlight off yourself and think of ways for it to shine on others – for example, allow someone else to take the lead on a project
- When you receive recognition, make sure you highlight the ways others supported you and the value they brought to the team/project.
- When you see that others might be going through an especially difficult time in their personal life, ask if there is anything you can do to support them.
- Reach out and take time to check in on someone who has recently experienced a personal loss or illness.
- Tell others what you appreciate about them; tell them that you are grateful for what they do, and make it a point to say ‘thank you’
A Huffington Post article about Kindness in the Workplace also has some additional good ideas.
At the Centre for Character Leadership, we’re passionate about character cultures – ones where people are kind to each other. Please contact me if you would like assistance in instilling kindness in your company culture.