A little kindness makes the world a better place, and this is just as true in the workplace as it is in the family home or school playground. So, with World Kindness Day approaching on 14 November, here are six ways to inject a little kindness into your work.
1. NO ‘I’ IN TEAM
A team that knows, understands and supports each other will be a more productive, positive team at work. Arranging regular team building events can be hugely advantageous and facilitate kindness, co-operation and positive change at work. Make sure you consult with people to make sure they are happy with the activity you pick, and choose a quality team-building venue to make sure the day runs smoothly and your attendees feel comfortable and ready to embrace the day’s activity.
2. SHARE THE MENTAL LOAD
There’s always at least one colleague in any office or workplace who enjoys a good moan. Then, there are others who bottle up any worries they may have. While it is all too easy to put your head down and concentrate on your own tasks and concerns, the kinder thing is to acknowledge that your colleagues may want or need the chance to share their worries with another, sympathetic human being. If you see or hear someone having trouble at work, take the time to make sure they are OK and ask if you can help, even if it is just by chatting over a coffee. You never know when the favour may need to be returned.
3. SHARE THE PHYSICAL LOAD
Is your team-mate overworked, or stressed by an imminent deadline? Perhaps your own tasks are well on track and you could spare an hour or two to help. Whether that is by sorting out some admin or finishing off some orders, your input will be appreciated by your colleague and your co-operation will improve the smooth running of your company’s operations, even just for the hour or two you can spare.
4. MILK AND SUGAR?
Do you pull your weight when it comes to office rituals like the tea run? Or are you the one waving your mug in the air, hoping that someone else will fill it for you? Showing kindness in the little things may not bring you unadulterated praise, glory and the CEO’s corner office, but it will not go unnoticed by the rest of your team. So next time the call goes out for help arranging the Christmas meal, or you notice that the printer is out of ink, don’t assume someone else will step up. Take your turn.
5. PRAISE BE!
We are often quicker to condemn than praise others for their efforts. So, if you see someone doing a superb job, or overcoming a hurdle at work, make sure you let them know that they are doing well. It takes no time at all to pop over to their desk or fire off an email. If you can, let their manager know your thoughts on their efforts, just in case it helps them secure a more favourable performance review further down the line. It doesn’t matter whether you are above or below them in the hierarchy. Everyone loves to be praised and to reap the reward for hard work.
6. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Finally, if you are the manager, or hare in a position of responsibility, make sure you lead by example and demonstrate ways to show kindness at work. The way you speak to your team will be noted and replicated, as will any demonstrations of appreciation. These needn’t be extravagant – acknowledging someone’s efforts in a group email or ordering pizza for anyone staying at the office late to meet a deadline, for example. If you create an atmosphere of co-operation and kindness, it will be far easier for everyone to meet their full potential than if you lead by fear or intimidation.
Update: Lane End make a point of marking occasions such as World Kindness Day and did similar on World Mental Health Day in 2018. See how we sought to raise awareness here.