Kindness and being kind are attitudes that we don’t see often enough in business. Because it’s International Care & Kindness Week, and today is World Kindness Day, I thought it would be a great idea to talk about how we, as leaders, should keep kindness at the core of who we are, how we speak and how we act. We shouldn’t limit kindness to our homes and to our schools. How can we inspire a culture of kindness in our business communities?
What’s so important about kindness? Why should we be kind?
Kindness is a key ingredient for any organization trying to foster a climate of respect, conviviality and team spirit.
Are you kind?
Do you show a desire to help others? Do you really want to do — and enjoy doing — good things for others? Do you enjoy being the source of happiness for others?
Let’s begin at the beginning of our day. Being kind is as simple as saying hello to your colleagues on your way to your desk, acknowledging them by looking them in the eyes, establishing contact and offering a smile. You’ll be surprised how the other person will receive you and how, in turn, their reaction will resonate with you.
When riding the elevator, look around and smile at the people you see, as opposed to looking at your phone, texting, looking down at the floor or up at the ceiling. A smile is not being giggly, superficial or pretending. It is an opportunity to kindly salute the other human being who is sharing the same space as you are. Speaking of elevators, a kind gesture is to hold the “Door Open” button when someone is running towards the closing door — or struggling to get out.
Yes, to show kindness is to show manners. Offering your seat to someone who might benefit sitting when a room is crowded, holding the door as you enter a restaurant, offering to carry someone’s latte (while they are holding their plate and their iPad and speaking on the phone!).
Being kind doesn’t take a lot of time, but it means bringing our focus away from ourselves and towards someone else. It’s scratching a bit below the surface, like asking how their project is coming along, listening to their reply and being present to their response.
There are so many ways for us to express kindness. Doing the right thing, such as being kind, begins with the intention of wanting to be kind and then acting on that intention.
So, let’s have the intention to be particularly kind to each other on World Kindness Day, and let’s set a goal to invite one act of kindness in our daily lives starting now. Pretty soon, rather that focusing on one, we will intend to be kind, all day long, all life long! Within our schools, our homes, our businesses and even in our boardrooms!
Let’s make kindness count!