Constant kindness can accomplish much.
As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding,
and hostility to evaporate.
— Albert Schweitzer, Theologian, Philosopher
As I write this email, Pope Francis has arrived for his visit to the United States. There is no doubt that all of us have witnessed his positive, transformative power whether Catholic or not. 1,000s of people from all over the world are swarming to catch a glimpse of this humble, kind Pope. They not only want to see him they want to hear his message of Kindness, tolerance, and unity.
Pope Francis makes a conscious choice to respond to others with Kindness rather than from the centuries-old papal sovereignty that rests on his shoulders. He exhibits to the world that leading with Kindness does not weaken your authority rather Kindness will enhance how others measure you as it magnifies the influence you have.
Umm…. Kindness…. counterintuitive and yet, in truth all are drawn to those in power who also reveal their concern and caring.
How do you measure up in Kindness?
We all know when we are treated with Kindness even when we deserve a far different response.
So, we know what Kindness feels like when we experience it, but the big question: What is your personal Kindness factor? The next question to ask: Am I treating others the way they would like to be treated?
Now, get out of your way. Take a quick scan of your actions as that is where Kindness resides. How do you interact with people in your company who have less power or status than you do? When you are overloaded with too much to do and not enough time to accomplish everything on your “to-do” list, how do you treat those around you? As someone makes a misstep, how do you respond? Your automatic reactions in the seemingly insignificant moments reveal the truth regarding your Kindness not any well-planned, looking good responses you might manufacture.
What is a “just right” Kindness focus?
Kindness opens the door for connectivity of all kinds—and in today’s diverse marketplace that is essential for success.
What are some simple shifts you can make to engage your Kindness?
- Smile: This is such a simple action and yet smiles that emanate from the heart change the environment. It just takes a moment to center your mind on the present, look the person in the eyes, smile and then, watch the transformational magic as it occurs. One wonders why we do not use our smile power more frequently. It is an act of Kindness to all. Studies show that seeing another person smile can activate the muscles in our face. So, we end up walking away with a smile as well. Amazing, right? And when we smile, our day becomes a little brighter.
- High-Performance Environment: The attitude of Kindness is a generosity of spirit made up of a lot of good emotions that not only lift the heart; but, also are central to high performance. What is fascinating about this attitude is that it incurs no additional expense to the bottom-line yet it adds tremendously to the productivity of an organization.
- As part of a global session I attended, James Kouzes co-author of the Leadership Challenge, announced his newest research. He indicated that when an employee receives encouragement 98% of those surveyed felt they performed at a higher level.
- Appreciation goes a long way toward improving employee engagement. It changes your employee’s physiology. Research shows when you have a subject attached to a brain monitor, you can see appreciation changing the brain waves… smoothing out the ragged lines of frustration into smooth, evenly measured waves.
- According to Shelly Gable, Assistant Professor at the University of California, when we are genuinely excited and happy for another person’s good fortune we benefit. In such an environment, it is more likely that good results will occur for everyone.
- Research in the last few years offers substantial evidence that we have two powerful, thinking brains besides what we typically call our mind-brain. Decision-making includes the heart and the gut. The latter two contribute more to making decisions than does the brain. So, if you do not empower employees by relating to their heart and gut through kind emotions, the probability of you engaging them is slim.[2
That’s pretty powerful stuff. The fact is that as you emotionally connect with your employees you are supporting them in becoming “the best” they can be. Initiating Kindness is contagious. This character trait will spread throughout your organization with the result looking a lot like improved employee engagement.
- Be Kind to Yourself: Self-Kindness aids in a higher level of achievement in today’s marketplace when no plan or change comes with a guarantee of straight-line success. This Character strength aids in activating your “reset mode of operating.” The quicker you “reset” the faster you move into initiating new, better, and more outstanding outcomes. “Resetting” is tough to do, if not impossible, when you are kicking yourself with regrets and filling your head with critical self-talk.
Can you overdo Kindness?
Truthfully, I’ve never been Kindness-ed to death, but I have felt as though I’m experiencing not-for-real, performance Kindness. When Kindness is used to manipulate, you sense something is off. It may be good theatre, but it leaves you feeling less than yourself rather than more.
Do you know your strengths?
I encourage you to take a Character Strength focus in your life. You will find that assuming such an outlook will not only add value to your day, it will also display a powerful role modeling behavior for your peers and employees. Keep your eyes open for the next email focusing on yet another strength from the VIA Survey with practical tips on how to effectively introduce the character on the job.
Want to learn more? Let’s connect! It would be my pleasure to support you in beginning to live a life that is engaging, exciting and satisfying to YOU.
Listen to what Tom Peters says about Kindness, the business guru who has the ears of many of our business leaders globally. I promise it is short.
Have you taken the opportunity to discover your character strengths as yet? If you have not, go here to take the free 15-minute VIA Survey and receive your profile.
I thank Christine Comaford for introducing me to this topic at the 2015 World Business and Coaches Summit.
 Grant Soosalu first introduced me to the research. If you’re interested in reading more on the topic, follow this link to abstract: Neuroscience and the Three Brains of Leadership http://www.leader-values.com/FCKfiles/Media/mBIT%20and%20Leadership%20article.pdf