Why kindness matters at work (and 4 ways to show it)

Why kindness matters at work (and 4 ways to show it)

American TV host and comedian Conan O'Brien once said, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” This shows that working hard isn’t the only variable to success, and being kind is just as important.

Why should you be kind to others?

Being kind boosts morale and makes work feel less tedious. It also boosts your serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction. Engaging in acts of kindness can also relieve anxiety, as it increases your positive affect, or the tendency to experience positive emotions and interact with others positively.

But you shouldn’t just show kindness for your own gain. It’s important to be kinder than what is necessary, especially at work, as you don't know what battles your colleagues are fighting. For instance, many people are experiencing anxiety and depression because of the social disconnectedness created by the pandemic. Some employees experience stress that interferes with their productivity at work, while others may be going through some serious personal matters.

Ways to show kindness at work

It doesn’t take much to start spreading kindness in your team and organization. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Lead by example

An effective leader walks the talk. To foster a culture of kindness at work, you need to set an example. Here are some small things you can do:

  • Start emails with a short greeting or compliment.
  • Check up on your employees regularly.
  • Offer to help a colleague with their workload.
  • Take the time to orient a new employee about your office culture and business processes.
  • Point out a colleague’s strengths in your meetings.
  • Connect with your teammates on LinkedIn and give them a good review.

Leading by example not only makes your teammates feel good about themselves, but it also encourages them to pay it forward.

2. Build a habit of gratitude

Showing gratitude isn’t just a response to kindness ー it is also a kindness in itself, as it enables you to share goodwill with others. It also helps people feel more positive emotions, improve their health, and build strong relationships, so make it a part of your company culture.

Start by providing your employees with gratitude tools like thank-you cards. If they work in the office, leave the cards in a common area so employees can fill them up when they have the time. If they are working remotely, you can use virtual card services such as Paperless Post and Greetings Island.

3. Give honest and thoughtful feedback

Some managers don’t like giving feedback, as they don’t enjoy being the bearer of bad news. But if done properly, feedback can be a form of kindness that can help your teammates grow and push themselves beyond their comfort zone.

According to Kim Scott, author of Radical Candor, discussing an employee’s weakness one-on-one and helping them overcome it shows that you care about them and their career. Keep your conversation constructive and affirming to remind your employees that the feedback is an opportunity for improvement.

Don’t forget to share positive observations as well, as this boosts their confidence and motivation, and shows that you value your employees. Positive feedback also helps people understand and develop their strengths, and creates a positive impact on individual, team, and organizational performance.

4. Recognize what’s important

Your employees desire to be in a healthy environment that recognizes their hard work. Recognize diligent workers not just by giving them a gift, but also by giving them recognition during team meetings. According to a study, acknowledging top-performing employees in front of their colleagues encourages those who weren't recognized to do better, which significantly boosts their productivity.

Also, make sure to recognize your employees during important moments such as their birthdays and work anniversaries. A study by CEB found that many employees reflect upon their career and become more likely to look for another job during these dates, especially if they don’t feel valued enough in their current job.

Even a simple acknowledgment of their contributions can be enough to make your employees feel appreciated, so take the time to recognize them whenever you can.

Showing kindness to your staff is just one way you can improve their working conditions. Another way is by making sure that their technology is running optimally. USWired provides businesses in the San Jose and San Francisco Bay areas with reliable managed IT services that will ensure 24/7/365 data security and downtime protection. To determine if it’s time to outsource to us, download our FREE eBook today.

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