Today is World Kindness Day, an international holiday formed in 1998 to promote kindness throughout the world.
Kindness is not something that should be reserved just for friends and family; it should extend to our colleagues and work family. Practicing kindness can lead to positive business impacts for both the employees and the organization.
1. Kindness boosts productivity.
Research by the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) found that teams in a respectful, kind environment:
- Possess 26% more energy.
- Are 30% more likely to feel motivated and enthusiastic about acquiring new skills and being exposed to new ideas.
- Express 36% more satisfaction with their jobs and are 44% more committed to their organizations.
Kindness can energize a team, driving morale and engagement.
2. Kindness builds trust.
Kindness enables people to let down their guard to emotionally connect with their colleagues, driving innovation and productivity.
3. Kindness is contagious.
Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki found that “kindness itself is contagious, and that … it can cascade across people, taking on new forms along the way.”
4. Kindness creates leaders.
Kindness is a catalyst that enables individuals to be great leaders. As Simon Sinek says, “leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” Kind leaders:
- take into account the needs of their teams.
- find common ground.
- value relationships.
- are confident enough to treat everyone with respect.
- do not allow others to be bullied or treated with disrespect.
- relentlessly encourage their teams.
- challenge their teams to continuously grow.
- speak the hard truths employees need to hear.
5. Kindness creates a positive work culture.
A study in the academic journal “Emotion” analyzed how acts of kindness create positivity throughout an organization. The people on the receiving end of acts of kindness from others reported a sense of camaraderie, a feeling of being in control, and significantly higher levels of happiness.
Happiness researcher Shawn Achor found, “when people work with a positive mindset, performance on nearly every level – productivity, creativity, engagement – improves.” Positive employees build teams and cultures where people actually want to work.
How to be intentionally kind
Every act of kindness can have an impact. Success lies in recognizing that we can influence the culture we work in by being kind. Some simple ways to be kind include:
• Allow others to speak before you in meetings.
• Help an overwhelmed co-worker with a deadline.
• Be willing to listen first and ask, “How can I help?”
• Recognize the good work of others.
• Create opportunities for your team to celebrate together.
• Invite new co-workers to a virtual lunch or coffee break.
• Share a link to an article your colleagues may find interesting.
• Have lunch delivered to someone you know is having a busy week.
• Ask, “How are you?”
• Become a mentor.
• Squash a rumor.
• Celebrate birthdays and other important events.
• Be a cheerleader for someone else’s ideas.
Each of us can choose whether or not to be kind. We are impacted by those around us, whether we know them or not. Those who seemingly cut you off in traffic, talk loudly on the phone, or say something offensive can put you off center… if you let them. Instead, choose to respond with kindness and empathy.