The Power of Kindness

Achieving Happiness and Success in the Workplace

Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day! As we celebrate this occasion, consider how you view and use kindness in your daily work:

• What are your general thoughts on kindness within leadership? Specially, how would you describe the importance of kindness in a leadership role?
• How is kindness used in your leadership approach? If kindness is not present in your approach, why is this?
• How would you rate the effectiveness of your current leadership approach? In doing so, consider your team’s attitude, energy, productivity, and results.

While we live in the 21st century, there are those who maintain the old-school philosophy that work should be strictly results-focused and harshness is a good thing. These types of people generally don’t encourage kindness in the workplace. In fact, they may even assert that kindness equals weakness, and that it won’t yield results. However, I’ve been challenging this notion for many years. Today, I encourage you to challenge it as well.

Though kindness has various definitions, let’s define it as “any act that positively impacts the well-being of ourselves and/or another”.

Kindness builds relationships, through which trust is built and productivity is increased. Research shows that kindness has a substantial, measurable effect on people’s well-being. By helping others through acts of kindness, we are spreading positivity that leads to happiness and ultimately increased productivity.

Therefore, it is imperative to have fun at work. After all, research shows that happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy employees.

Kindness goes beyond simply being nice to others. As a leader, I encourage you to:

1. Be authentic – We must first be kind to ourselves, accepting of our vulnerabilities, and in alignment with our purpose. From there, we are able to be authentic with others.
2. Get to know your employees – Listen! Listen! Listen! We must learn what is most important to our employees. Once we truly understand their respective values, sources of energy, and preferred methods for success, we can then treat them with genuine kindness.
3. Provide honest, ongoing feedback – Many leaders avoid providing honest feedback, often due to a fear of offending their employees. However, as Brene Brown reminds us, open communication is often an act of kindness. After all, employees strive to succeed, so a lack of constructive feedback could impede their development. Specifically, feedback should be provided each week, as suggested by Gallup Q12.

Kindness is contagious, and it has an infinitely positive impact on you, your employees, and the workplace as a whole. You’ll simply be amazed at the instant results.

I’ll conclude this post by sharing one of my memorable experiences with kindness:

As a new Provost, I said “hello” to everyone each day upon arriving to the office. This simple act of kindness was often followed by a brief chat, genuine laughter, and positive energy. Long after staring in this Provost role, an employee approached me and said, “I’ve never worked anywhere where the manager says hello to me! Thank You!”. These words confirmed the power of kindness, proving that even the smallest gestures can have a profound, positive impact on others.

Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day to each and every one of you. Choose Kindness!