‘Being kind in the workplace creates a ripple effect. It impacts the general level of positivity, boosts your mood and it’s contagious as the good feelings it promotes make people likely to ‘pay it forward. Plus, it’s officially good for your health! … This helps to lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health’.

(workpsychologygroup.com)

 

I’ve been doing a lot of webinars on imposter syndrome and working on careers projects recently and one of the themes in my advice is always around kindness, which seems to surprise people!

We are so used to KPI’s, numbers, agility, creativity etc in our workplace conversations that some of our natural human languages don’t always get verbalised or prioritised.

A study in the journal Emotion looks at acts of kindness within a real-life working environment and shows how kindness really does create a positive ripple that affects the whole workplace culture.  The study shows that acts of kindness don’t go unnoticed, and it had a huge impact on the overall positivity in the workplace and on the employees’ sense of wellbeing. The people who received kindness through the 4 weeks reported a sense of camaraderie.  In addition, the receivers felt in control at work and reported significantly higher levels of happiness. The acts of kindness, however small and insignificant they might have seemed, acted as a buffer even during a period of stress and difficult work conditions. The people involved enjoyed higher levels of life satisfaction and job satisfaction and fewer depressive symptoms. They also felt more autonomous, and more competent in their workplace.

Workplace rudeness takes its toll on employees and businesses alike, in research by Christine Porath on workers treated poorly:

  • 47% decreased the time spent at work,
  • 38% said they intentionally decreased the quality of their work.
  • 66% admitted their performance declined
  • 78% percent said their commitment to the organization had declined.
  • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident,

A few years ago, I had a mother of a bully in my then daughter’s primary school (who I challenged – she didn’t like it!) say “Urgh Liz, you are all about kindness, what does that matter?”

We know that 80% of us have an iAM value around kindness.  This is backed up by many scientists who argue that our brains are hardwired for kindness.  Studies share that when we are compassionate and kind it releases the powerful feel-good neurochemical oxytocin, generating a whole rush of positive emotions.

Jaclyn Lindsey, Co-founder and CEO of kindness.org, has conducted research with the University of Oxford that shows “by helping others, your own happiness, life-satisfaction, relationships, social connections and positivity are increased—and life becomes more enjoyable.’’ She also refers to the University of Wisconsin’s research by Richard Davidson that shows “… kindness can improve job performance, lengthen employee tenure, and reduce sick leave.’’

What business and culture wouldn’t benefit from that?

How much are you actively, consciously, driving kindness into your work environment?

  • Do you consciously show people that you like them?  Listening, smiling and showing others that you see them and like the real person in them.
  • Do you choose to see the best in people, especially when they don’t see it in themselves?
  • Are you being yourself at work?  Are you the same warm and informal person at work as at home?
  • Are you aware of the impact that you have on those around you?  Do you dial up your self-awareness and notice how good it feels to be kind?
  • Do you bravely stick your hand up to help people without feeling judged?
  • When you are with people are you really with them?  Giving people attention, being really present?

Practice small acts of kindness every day at work – the person you are kind to is 278% more likely to pay it forwards – what an impact!  (US National Institute of Health)

Be you.