The importance of kindness
It’s tough out there. Mass layoffs, economic turmoil, geopolitical tensions, and the looming shadow of AI are making it tricky for many of us to stay positive. In times like this kindness is more important than ever – especially in the workplace.
In times like this kindness is more important than ever – especially in the workplace.
We read a great post recently in the Harvard Business Review on kindness and we wanted to share some learnings and some of our own thinking.
Kindness in work
When we think about what makes a successful workplace, kindness might not be the first thing that springs to mind, but a culture of kindness can have a hugely positive effect.
It doesn’t just make for a happier workplace it can help with productivity, talent retention, effectiveness, and customer satisfaction. Acting with kindness can also make us better leaders.
So how can we cultivate kindness at work? HBR offered five ways:
To be kind to others we need to be kind to ourselves. To be in a position to be a valuable and thoughtful team member and leader we need to look after our own physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
2. Show up
There’s nothing kind about people picking up your slack. Doing every aspect of your role to the best of your ability ensures you’re not causing stress, anxiety or frustration for others. If you see a colleague struggling with workload offer to help.
3. Reach out and connect
To be truly kind we need to connect. Actively listen to colleagues and show an interest in their life outside the office. Ask about their family, pets, hobbies and make an effort to meet up in person even if you work remotely.
4. Recognise and praise people
Authentic and thoughtful interactions show that you’re thinking about the other person and can cement connections. Give authentic praise to show you appreciate their unique contribution and value.
5. Be conscientious with feedback
Kindness isn’t the same as niceness. When you have a deep connection with people, you’re well placed to offer honest and constructive feedback. Framing ‘negative’ feedback in a positive light can help the person receiving it grow and develop.
Most of us are ready to judge and criticise ourselves for our shortcomings and inadequacies but less willing show ourselves compassion. Self-compassion is all about being kind to yourself and when we embrace it we can comfort and care for ourselves in the tough times. It’s something Dr Kristin Neff offers some great insight into in this Ted Talk where she discusses the importance of honouring and accepting our humanness.
Shop with kindness
When times are tough it’s more important than ever that we all do our bit. As a B Corp we’re always looking at how we can support sustainable businesses and local suppliers. Whether it’s striking up a long-term relationship with an ethical supplier or just popping into your local grocers, we can all use our purchasing power in a kinder way. This supplier list on the B Corp website is a great place to find businesses who are doing their bit for people and the planet.
Help to create change
Showing kindness to your team, your family, and your community is a great start but could your kindness reach further? Giving time and support to those trying to take the first or next steps in their career is one way you can extend your compassion. In the creative and tech sector organisations like Kerning in the Gap, InnovateHer, The Girls Network, and The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation are always looking for role models and mentors. Paying it forward won’t only inspire the next generation, it will make the industry stronger.
Kindness might seem intangible but there are lots of practical and actionable ways we can create more of it. Acting with kindness takes empathy, vulnerability, and self-awareness but the effort we put in can have far reaching effects.