Last year I wrote about the experience of a taxi journey taken after an exhausting day spent at an exhibition, and how the impact of the lovely lady driver was so uplifting.
We’d noticed how she negotiated London rush hour traffic and the rudeness of other drivers with calm, composure and kindness. During the drive she shared her wonderful philosophy on life and we thought; wow what an inspirational lady!
In HBR recently, in an article about making kindness a tenet of business, the Stamford psychologist, Jamil Zaki, shares his research about ‘positive conformity’ – that kindness is contagious. In his research he found that, “participants who believed others were more generous became more generous themselves.” Suggesting that “kindness is contagious, and that it can cascade across people, taking on new forms along the way.” The article talks about how leaders can create this, not by introducing policies and procedures; “kindness as a directive’’, but “…unleashing kindness in your organization is to treat it like a contagion, and to create the conditions under which everybody catches it.’’
The article takes Mercedes Benz as an example, where the CEO was able to positively transform their customer service by encouraging staff to be kind. Recognising that success was not just about the cars sold but also about how much “the people who sold and serviced the cars cared and how generously they behaved.’’ “Every encounter with the brand,” he declared, “must be as extraordinary as the machine itself.” To influence the behaviour of more than 23,000 employees at Mercedes dealerships, he had to convince dealers and their staff to join a grassroots “movement” that treated kindness like a contagion. The business found small and simple ways to treat their staff kindly, being able to borrow cars for special family occasions for example, and saw the cascade it produced, as their staff were then kind to others and went above and beyond to help customers.
Very much like our taxi ride, when we were really lifted by our driver – we stepped into her space, a bubble of loveliness, and experienced her reality – clean and authentic, no moaning, no strategy, no fake cheeriness or trite conversational patter. She was choosing to be positive, good, kind and caring every single day, and it was contagious and inspirational!
Do you want to be an inspiration and create a kindness contagion for 2019?
Here are tips and questions to help:
- How can you be kind every day?
- What impact do you have on others, what are you radiating?
- What inspires you in others? – Be that.
- In what ways can you make other people feel special?
- Do you have a personal mantra for how you want to be?
Create your own and then go and share it with everyone that you come in to contact with to create a kindness contagion for 2019!
Be yourself and your authenticity will shine through and be inspirational.