“Being a strong man includes being kind. There’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion…”
Kindness has been in the news again this week as Wednesday 13th was World Kindness Day, the quote above is part of Barack Obama’s eulogy for the veteran US Democrat Elijah Cummings, following his death last month. The quote was included in a BBC article which also highlighted a new body, the Badari Kindness Institute, based at UCLA Social Sciences Dept., which has been formed with the purpose of looking into the scientific point of view of the impact of kindness, their research has found links between kindness and lifespan.
“Living with people who treat you, at best, with disregard or a lack of concern, and at worst with open hostility, is bad for you. It shortens your life, quite literally….conversely, both receiving kindness from others, and providing kindness, both of those things…are good for you…even seemingly trivial interactions, like a barista at a coffee shop smiling and asking how you are, can improve people’s wellbeing.’’ Daniel Fessler, Badari Kindness Institute director.
Similar work is shown in ‘The Rabbit Effect’ a new book by Columbia University doctor Kelli Harding, so called because she was inspired after looking into a study of rabbits from the 1970’s where one group were seen to have much better outcomes because of the care they received from a kind researcher.
She says about kindness: “It helps the immune system, blood pressure, it helps people to live longer and better. It’s pretty amazing because there’s an ample supply and you can’t overdose on it. There’s a free supply. It’s right there.”
The HBR article “The Hard Data on Being a Nice Boss’’ shares research and results including:
- “… leaders who project warmth – even before establishing their competence – are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill.’’
- A kind culture “can even help mitigate stress. While our brains are attuned to threats (whether the threat is a raging lion or a raging boss), our brains stress reactivity is significantly reduced when we observe kind behaviour….”
A Forbes article, ‘Science proves kindness is your competitive advantage‘, includes a summary of studies and research showing numerous workplace benefits of kindness including being a more effective leader, improving sales and creativity.
The evidence is mounting – kindness is good for us!
Here are our top tips for being kind to make a positive difference to others, your business and you:
- Be more conscious of your behaviour every day and the impact on those around you – put them first – aim to have a positive impact.
- Be yourself – your iAM values, the best expression of you.
- Give people time and pay full attention to others, drop the multitasking with technology whilst speaking to others and really listen instead.
- Decide to invest some time every day to others – and stick to it.
- Remember that being kind makes you feel good too.
- Practice small acts of kindness every day – the person you are kind to is 278% more likely to pay it forwards – what an impact! (US National Institute of Health).