I thought about starting the article off by asking: Are you kind? But a quirk of this characteristic is you’re not the one who determines whether you are. It is only those around you, who get to label you as kind—or not. You see, your unconscious reactions to the insignificant moments of life are what establish your kindness quotient, it’s not any planned, looking-good for the audience response.
Kindness is a generosity of spirit that not only lifts the heart but is the underpinning for high performance as well. It appears executives, who intentionally foster relationships based on trust and kindness, create a safe atmosphere for their employees. Such behavior engenders connectivity, and in today’s complex workplace, a culture where employees and those around them flourish.
As you answer these questions, dig deep:
- Are you treating others the way they would like you to treat them?
- How do you interact with employees in your company who have less power or status than you?
- In overload situations, with too much to do and not enough time to accomplish everything, how do you treat those around you?
- When someone makes a misstep, or strongly advocates for something you disagree with, what’s your first response?
What is fascinating about the attitude of kindness in business is that it may not directly correlate to the bottom-line. Nonetheless, it is a productivity booster in any organization.
- It’s Contagious: Even observing an act of kindness renders a flush of well-being. Not to mention, you’ll likely be so heartened, you too will initiate an act of kindness. And Stanford psychologist, Jamil Zaki’s research identifies a ripple effect, as kindness is contagious, and that it can cascade across people, taking on new forms along the way.[i]
- Improves Performance: James Kouzes’, co-author of the Leadership Challenge, research brings to light when an employee receives kindness and encouragement, 98 percent felt they perform at a higher level.
- Environmental Buffer: A University of California study reveals small acts of kindness not only benefits the receiver, but also the giver and the whole organization.[ii] Kindness aids employees in absorbing the tension that occurs during challenging times in the workplace.
- Top Leaders Unite: The number one character failing, according to Harvard Business Review, of executives’ career progress is an inability to generate trusting relationships. In stark contrast, top leaders build strong relationships with their employees by expressing kindness and a sincere desire to help them become their best.[iii]
If you have a sneaking suspicion you’re not as kind as you would like to be, it’s never too late. Why don’t you practice Og Mandino’s, the author of “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” practical coaching:
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be
dead by midnight. Extend to them all of the care, kindness and
understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of
any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
With this straightforward reshuffling of your attitude, you not only better your reality but those around you as well. And if you’re already known for your kindness, keep on being the gift you are!
[i] Article: Making Kindness Is A Core Tenet Of Your Company, by Bill Taylor
[ii] Article: Making Kindness A Priority In The Workplace, by Dr. Pragya Agarwal
[iii] Article: Science Says Kindness Can Make You A Better Leader by Todd Nordstrom