Kindness at work? Is that really a thing? Yes, you can practice kindness in the workplace and still accomplish the mission! Here are 10 easy ways to get you started!
I’m almost laughing at the irony of writing this article. My last workplace was for a government agency that kindness was last on the list of their priorities. Then there’s Hubby who is a retired Army Green Beret and that organization is certainly more focused on the mission over being nice.
But here’s the thing.
Some people view kindness as a sign of weakness. Or an either-or scenario. It’s not.
Kindness is not about being mild-mannered or weak. It’s about being respectful, practicing good manners and common decency, and being an overall good human being. It is possible to be an effective leader, be direct in your communication, or even be assertive to accomplish the mission and still practice kindness. In the pie chart of all of the characteristics that make up a good leader or a good employee, kindness should always be one of them.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the events of 2020 caused some people to completely lose it. Mental health issues literally skyrocketed and tempers were easily triggered. Kindness was the last thing on anyone’s minds. It was my experience that normally nice people became downright nasty and hateful overnight. I even caught myself starting to become unhinged and had to check myself. I took a step back and realized where I was going and from that point on, tried to be extra kind to others because I know the world needs more kindness.
This all spilled over to the workplace and it’s time to reclaim kindness, one small act a time. So whether you are a leader, manager, or employee, it is everyone’s job to lead with kindness. And it shouldn’t just be for holidays such as Random Acts of Kindness Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Earth Day, Advent, or World Kindness Day.
But how do you do that? Here are 10 ways to get you started spreading kindness in the workplace.
10 Ways to Spread Kindness at Work
1. Say hello. With a smile. Nothing is easier or brightens someone’s day faster than a kind greeting and a smile. PS – it’s free!
2. Learn names. Learn people’s names. Use their names. It may sound awkward at first, but people LOVE hearing you use their names! Especially those who are “invisible” in the workplace – the custodial staff, cafeteria workers, baristas, etc.
3. Help a co-worker. Back when I was working in the cube farm, my co-workers and I had an unwritten rule. If work was a little slow then we would always ask around to see if there was something we could help with. This act is always greatly appreciated.
4. Give credit where credit is due. Too many environments are “dog eat dog” where people take or steal credit. If you are a leader, your mission should be to change this immediately. Give credit to everyone who helped on the task.
5. Begin meetings with an affirmation, good deed, or act of kindness. Woah. This is getting a little woo-woo, don’t you think? It may sound corny, but it sets the stage. Have the staff gather their favorite affirmations or quotes and take turns to kick off the group huddle.
6. Take the time to get to know someone. When I was in the cube farm, I had 4 co-workers within a 3-10 foot space. We were so physically close that we knew EVERYTHING about each other’s personal lives. You can’t hide anything working that close! But our co-workers across the office – we didn’t know anything about them! And when I had an office, I felt isolated from my staff even though my door was literally open all of the time and they were constantly in and out. Take the time to get to know the people you work with.
7. Write a letter of recommendation. Instead of begrudging someone who wants to move on or move up, help them get ahead. Write a letter of recommendation or be a reference for them. Offer first before they ask.
8. Practice gratitude. Oh, the mighty power of gratitude. Be sure to join our Gratitude at Work 4-Week Challenge. Your team will go from being stressed and overwhelmed to learn how to implement a gratitude practice to help build their inner resilience. Show up at work with more purpose, collaboration, and focus than ever before!
9. Create a kindness board or wall. Create a board where you can post notes, quotes, photos, or some other ways to show kindness throughout your office or organization. Don’t let it be static though, encourage everyone to replace theirs with new ones periodically.
10. Bring in food, snacks, or coffee. In the years throughout my career, there was only one company that provided food, snacks, and coffee, and even that got shut down. These days, you are pretty much on your own. You don’t have to bake, but offer to bring in coffee, food, or snacks occasionally. Food is the love language of a lot of people! Those kind gestures go a long way.
PS – want more kindness in your life or in the workplace?
See – kindness isn’t so difficult, right? Which ones are you personally going to implement on a daily basis? How about as a leader in your organization? You’ve got this!
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Love, hugs, and kindness is contagious.
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