For good reasons, more organizations are revisiting or revising their workplace anti-harassment policies. At the same time, the founder of the nonprofit Kindness.org logically notes that there’s no place for harassment and bullying in a workplace grounded in kind words and kind acts. In fact, Kindness.org is in the process of measuring kindness within workplaces and communities to better understand its impact around the world. You probably don’t need hard facts to come to the conclusion that kindness makes a difference and makes good business sense, as I wrote about a few years ago. For leaders and team members – what can you do to show kindness in the workplace at any time, under any circumstance? Here are small three ideas:
• Kindness doesn’t have to cost anything. The CEO of Belfor Holdings handwrites 7,400 birthday cards each year to every person in his billion-dollar company. He says it has created a culture of compassion throughout the entire company that goes beyond the birthday greetings to other on-the-spot recognition. The CEO, Sheldon Yellen, says: “It’s also something that doesn’t have to cost a thing. When I learn of random acts of kindness being performed in the field, I take it upon myself to again reach out in writing, and send a thank you card so that person can know they are appreciated and that their efforts don’t go unnoticed.”
• Kindness is contagious. In the case of Belfor Holdings, other leaders have followed the CEO’s example. Kindness begets other kind acts. A study last year in the journal Emotion found that when co-workers are nice to each other, it improves everyone’s workplace attitudes. It can be as simple as pitching in to help a busy colleague on a project, bringing in homemade snacks for your team, or remembering someone’s birthday. At Linhart PR, one of our stated values is “Follow the Golden Rule: treating others as we want to be treated. We choose to work with people who do the same. We practice kindness.”
• Kindness is about small acts. Early in my career, during a business trip, a company executive gave me his first-class seat. He went back to economy. A leader at another company told a few of us to treat ourselves to a nice dinner and expense it, after working long hours week after week on a project. I don’t recall the outcome of the business trip meeting or the project. I remember the small acts of kindness.
What other kind words or acts have made a difference in your workplace?