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May 20, 2020
8 min read

The power and potential of kindness

This week marks Mental Health Week in the UK, an important week to shine a light on protecting mental health. This year’s theme is kindness. A theme that is very well chosen as kindness has so much power and potential to be unleashed.

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. But actually, by showing your human side and by being kind, people will respect you more. Checking in on your teams individually and ask how they’re coping with the WFH-situation or if they have any questions on company policy, is showing kindness. But also, 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. Make it part of your company culture. Why not install a Random Act of Kindness-fund, where coworkers can nominate each other to receive a small token of appreciation, a gift, when they need or deserve it. Think outside the box, so anniversaries, new babies or birthdays don’t count. Make the gift personal and create a real moment around it.

How kindness makes a difference in the workplace

With kindness or altruism, it’s a double-whammy in terms of impact on how people feel. Not only will the person who acts kind feel more positive about themselves, 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, so if your corporate culture incorporates kindness, this may spread. It will reflect on the company as a whole and will give you a competitive edge in the war on talent too.

 

So when you wake tomorrow, think about what you can do to share some kindness with the people you work with. Send someone a few very random funny gifs via Slack, order a box of chocolates for that coworker with the sweet tooth, or just decorate someone’s office chair for when they’re back in the office – just because it’ll bring a smile to their face next time they’re in the office. Being kind is easy, so share it.