There's always a lot of talk about how people should improve themselves, their relationships with others and how to grow as a person. But the thing is, all those self-help books sometimes miss one important thing about life. Which is: Kindness Matters. Yes, I capitalised it. Hell, yeah. Because I feel that it deserves it. Being kind to oneself and to others is one of the best ways to grow. Being, or growing into, a genuinely nice person will make all the difference. Not only in your social life, but in work too.
What truly is kindness?
If you’re lucky you will experience acts of kindness throughout your day. Actions that are kind can be big or small, but either way, they have a massive influence. Kindness is the act of doing something for someone with the sole purpose of genuinely making a positive impact. Kindness shows humanity, it’s what makes us human and shows that we care about the fate of others. You don’t have to buy everyone flowers to show your kindness, it’s actually about the little things. It’s sharing a magazine with your neighbour once you’ve finished it, it’s saying that your partner can have the last banana when you both reach for it, but it’s also listening to your coworker when they need to vent about a work issue.
The potential of kindness in the workplace
When you work together with others, it’s important to not forget that we’re all people. Sometimes you can get lost in all the processes, spreadsheets and checklists that you might forget that someone is actually struggling with getting it all done. Showing kindness in the workplace is not showing your weakness. It’s a common fallacy that being a good manager is by being tough and stern. When I was still working at a company, this is one of the most important things I kept in the back of my mind when I started managing people. I didn't want to be a manager that would 'lead by fear.' I've always found that a weakness in a manager's personality when they felt that making people scared of you would make them work harder. I've always found that by showing your human side and by being kind, people will respect you more. Simply by checking in on your teams individually and ask how they’re coping with their workload or any other issues, they're facing, work-related or not. You might want to cut them some slack when they’re falling behind. Because when you know your people well, you also know what standards of output to expect. So checking in on them in a kind manner will open them up to you. But being kind is not restricted to nor limited by vertical lines within an organisation, it’s also important to ensure that kindness is distributed all throughout.
How kindness makes a difference
With kindness or altruism, it’s a double-whammy in terms of impact on how people feel. Not only will you as a kind person feel more positive about yourself, but the person on the receiving end will also share this feeling. It’s clinically proven that altruistic acts will also enhance the feeling of belonging. When people feel that they are part of something, they will be more content. Mutual feelings of positivity are also very contagious, most often it's paid forward. So when you wake tomorrow, think about what you can do to share some kindness with the people you work or live with. Send someone a few very random funny gifs, order a box of chocolates for that coworker with the sweet tooth, or send a handwritten letter or card to someone that's been on your mind – just because it’ll bring a smile to their face. Being kind is easy, so share it.