Kindness in the Workplace Pays Huge Dividends
- August 31, 2023
- Posted by: Chris Stanzione
- Categories: Insights, People Ops
Kindness in the Workplace Pays Huge Dividends
When people are feeling stressed and unmotivated, being kind isn’t just a nice gesture – it’s a necessity. In times of mass layoffs, economic uncertainty, and global tensions, kindness is more crucial than ever, especially in the workplace.
Research shows that practicing kindness has positive effects on businesses. For those who are stepping into leadership roles, being kind to your employees can help you keep your best team members, establish a vibrant work culture, boost employee engagement, and improve productivity. When people receive genuine compliments or recognition, it not only makes them feel good but also enhances their self-esteem, self-assessment, and triggers positive emotions. The outcome? Happier, more involved employees.
On an individual level, performing acts of kindness triggers the release of chemicals in your brain, like serotonin and dopamine, which contribute to feelings of satisfaction and well-being. It also releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers produced by your body.
Decades of research consistently confirm it: Kindness is beneficial for everyone.
Tips for Being More Kind at Work:
Whether you’re new to the workforce, starting a fresh job, or moving into a role that involves managing people, kindness can be a powerful trait that reflects positively on your character, dedication, and long-term value. Moreover, when you show kindness, it often encourages others within your organization to follow suit. Here are some simple habits you can adopt in your everyday work routine to spread kindness and foster a culture of compassion at your workplace.
Remember that being kind to others starts with being kind to yourself. While self-care might sometimes feel like a luxury, it’s actually a necessity. When your own well-being suffers, it also impacts your performance at work. If you’re burnt out and unable to contribute effectively, it can even affect those around you. To be a valuable team member, it’s essential to actively look after your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
To kickstart self-care at work, begin by managing your workload so that both you and your manager have a clear sense of priorities. This approach helps you set necessary boundaries. For instance, you might decide not to reply to non-urgent emails outside of regular work hours. You could also ask your manager for assistance in organizing your to-do list to focus on the most critical tasks rather than juggling everything simultaneously. Another strategy might involve taking a sick day or a mental health day to recharge. Investing time in yourself before you’re completely drained is essential for both self-care and your capacity to show kindness to others.
Fulfill Your Job Responsibilities:
When you consistently arrive late or neglect essential tasks in your role, it often means others have to take on the work you’ve left undone. This results in increased stress, anxiety, or frustration for everyone involved. So, start with the basics: be punctual and complete your tasks to the best of your ability. This is where self-care comes into play – doing your best work requires taking care of yourself first.
It’s also crucial to find ways to hold yourself accountable. Try setting small daily goals that contribute to your larger objectives. These specific, achievable targets act as stepping stones, helping you move closer to your ultimate goals. You can use daily checklists to track your progress and seek feedback from both your manager and colleagues about their perception of your contributions.
Additionally, consider conducting self-assessments after completing significant tasks. Reflect on the process, identify areas that could be improved, and strategize how to handle them differently next time. By using these techniques, you can better manage your workload, freeing up time to assist your colleagues when needed. If you see a coworker struggling (especially when your workload is comparatively lighter), offer help – even if it’s beyond your usual responsibilities. Even small acts of assistance can foster a sense of teamwork and camaraderie, thus contributing to a culture of kindness.
Initiate Meaningful Connections:
In the age of remote work, social connections might not happen as naturally as before. Consequently, it’s essential to be purposeful in establishing and nurturing them. Set up virtual or in-person meetings with your colleagues, and take an interest in their pets, recent moves, or families. Most importantly, actively practice listening. Demonstrating genuine care for what others have to say is a significant display of kindness. You can achieve this by paraphrasing what they’ve said to ensure you’ve understood their message or by asking thoughtful follow-up questions. When someone experiences this level of care, they’re more inclined to reciprocate it, contributing to a culture that promotes kindness.
Aside from getting to know your colleagues better, building deeper connections also provides insight into their challenges and difficulties. This understanding offers valuable information about their emotions, motivations, and ways you can boost their confidence.
Acknowledge and Commend Others:
When your team members observe your sincere engagement, interest in their lives, and encouragement of their potential, it fosters an environment of empathy and concern – traits that embody kindness in the workplace. Authentic interactions that reflect thoughtfulness indicate that you genuinely think about the person and appreciate their unique qualities and contributions. This kind of connection fosters positivity, creating a space where kindness can flourish.
Begin by offering genuine praise to your colleagues. This powerful gesture communicates your appreciation for them and their work. For instance, you might focus on recent accomplishments that genuinely impressed you. Even a simple statement like “You did an excellent job in today’s meeting” can significantly impact someone’s day. This is backed by research; the brain processes verbal affirmations similarly to financial rewards, and expressing gratitude and praise makes individuals feel valued, boosting their morale.
Deliver Feedback with Thoughtfulness:
When you have a deeper understanding of your teammates, you’re better equipped to provide them with honest, constructive feedback. It’s important to distinguish between “kindness” and mere “niceness.” Kindness involves delivering candid feedback with sensitivity to the experiences of others. While niceness can often be more about pleasing people and may lack genuineness, kindness is both honest and considerate. Being kind means offering feedback that contributes to the growth of the person receiving it and the overall success of your organization. Essentially, you’re aiming to help them improve.
Next time you’re asked for your opinion on someone’s work, be truthful while highlighting both the positive aspects and areas for potential improvement. Begin with positive comments about what you liked and what’s working well, and then address any areas you believe could be enhanced. Frame constructive feedback positively, such as “This part of your presentation could have more impact if (explain your reasoning). I believe it would be stronger if you took the opportunity to (provide a suggestion for improvement).” Alternatively, you might say, “I see enormous potential in your skills, and I think you could become a leader in (specific area).” Every piece of feedback reinforces your confidence in their capabilities, even if it includes constructive criticism. Demonstrating concern for your colleague’s growth and improvement is a display of kindness.
The Significance of Kindness:
Even though kindness is intangible and difficult to quantify, it holds immense importance in shaping the dynamics of your team and your organization as a whole. Establishing a culture that prioritizes kindness enables individuals to not only generate innovative ideas but also feel secure enough to express and share them. In a world characterized by various challenges and uncertainties, nurturing an environment of kindness becomes an essential driver for both personal and collective growth.
In today’s challenging work environment, kindness is not a luxury but a crucial necessity, especially given widespread anxiety, low morale, and the complexities of our times. Research confirms that kindness can yield significant positive outcomes for businesses, making it particularly valuable for emerging leaders aiming to retain top talent, foster a thriving culture, enhance employee engagement, and boost productivity. Demonstrating kindness, such as offering compliments and recognition, not only elevates individuals’ self-esteem and emotions but also triggers neurochemical responses that promote well-being. Integrating routines like practicing self-care, fulfilling responsibilities, building meaningful connections, acknowledging others, and delivering considerate feedback can establish a culture of kindness within the workplace. Ultimately, kindness acts as a powerful force, transforming team dynamics and organizational culture, fostering innovation, and creating an environment where expressing one’s thoughts and ideas is encouraged.