Being Human- Kindness is the Key

Kindness is a virtue for some and those who acquire it live a contented life there after. But our Business Managers and leaders are forgetting the art of munificence be it, termination of employment (where it can be avoided), not giving any leaves, discourteous language, unfriendly behavior, ego, being abusive, and what not, our forum (citehr) keeps receiving such queries…

What do you think is missing amongst other things? Here is what I feel can bring some relief….

“The ideals which have lighted my way and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, and luxury have always seemed to me contemptible” – Albert Einstein

In a recent book, ” Leading with kindness: How good people consistently get superior results”, by William Baker and Michael O’Malley, contend that corporate kindness positively impacts profits.

They also identify six qualities of kind managers — compassion, integrity, gratitude, authenticity, humility, and humor — and believe that a kind management style improves employee performance and retention.

Here’s how we deliver on the value of kindness and how we can make Kindness an ingredient of integrity, gratitude and humility:

Don’t make opinion and start judging – To relight benevolence in the workplace, we need to regain our focus on what we truly believe is important. We tend to block our natural empathic impulses with beliefs, judgments and emotions that keep us separate from other people. We generally lose ourselves in the endless demands of business imperatives – which are usually not people centric…why so? Why can’t we live with empathy and imbibe this quality in our character? Is it that difficult?

Thank you Notes: Just as a token of kindness, we started a practice of giving thank you notes to fellow employees, or superiors, subordinates, a peon, security guard anyone who you thought made your day by a sweet gesture, it can be a nice smile in morning by your assistant, an IT person solving your software problem, or the guy who brings the coffee at the right time on your desk. Showing gratitude is the key here.

Feedback Mechanism and kindness; The time of feedback brings a lot of nervousness and anxiety in people who are at the receiving end and sometimes to the one who is at the other side of the table too. Negativity and criticism can break self confidence. I received an sms from a friend, a few days back, with the following quote,

“A tongue has no bones but it can break a heart and also it can be a pillar of strength to a broken heart…..Use it carefully”

The message says it all, its up to you how you want to deal with situations, either by mending or breaking hearts.

Development opportunities: Individual growth needs a clear cut, well defined, individual development plan which then gets converted to various development opportunities such as attending trainings for skill gaps, MDPs etc. You all must be wondering what has kindness got to do with this?? Just think of all the ways companies provide trainings and development opportunities these days, by picking the one they like the most, or they are close to…and what about the person who has given all his life to you in terms of number of years? Its pay back time guys, just hold on to them by fulfilling their needs of learning.

Open channels of communication: structures and systems often inhibit open communication and contact, despite the fact we talk about open culture of communication, but those obstructions don’t have to prevent us, as individuals, from reaching out to our co-workers, with just a smile, acknowledgement or empathy. Take responsibility to speak directly to individuals and create a safe and trustworthy environment for those not present, it is very empirical as people who go on long leaves, for example females on maternity leaves, when they choose to come back they see a different world altogether.

Embrace diversity: There was a query few days back, of how a girl was being ignored by other employees as she was the only one speaking another language amongst lot of Hindi speaking people, and so the kind of treatment she was getting. Refrain from entertaining your self or others at the expense of other cultures, languages, dialects or group differences, it will surely generate laughter but at what cost…?? Compassion towards people from diverse groups makes you a true human being, no matter where you are, which designation you hold…ultimately you are known for your deeds.

Compassionate decision making: If you can have problems back home then the other person can also have…if you can fall can the other person..empathy is a commonly used jargon these days, but practicing it is an art in itself which surely is omitted from the dictionary of many owners, leaders and managers. How do you then expect employees to behave in a particular manner when as a role model, they see you shouting, grouching and belittling others.

Kindness is a step beyond respect or fair play, a step out in front of the corporate policy manual. It is personal, thoughtful, and — for want of a better word – Nurturing.

Though precaution should be taken that, kindness should never get in the way of devising clear objectives for which individuals take responsibility, accountability for work outcomes, performance and business measurements.

Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns!!!


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