What the world needs now is … kindness. Including at work.
Maybe you think it sounds a bit woo-woo. But it’s not. Being kind to others on the job is great for you, your career, your colleagues and your company.
How? Well, for starters, performing random acts of kindness increases overall happiness, and a happier you does better, more effective, even stellar work. The same goes for groups. Teams where colleagues are sensitive to each other’s psychological well-being tend to be more productive and successful. Corporations where people treat one another kindly and considerately expend fewer resources on conflict resolution, which helps the bottom line.
More amazingly, the powerful, positive effects of kindness work whether or not you’re truly feeling it. Studies show how the mere act of lifting the corners of your lips and crinkling your eyes — i.e., “smiling” — creates positive changes in your autonomic nervous system, reduces your stress level, boosts your immune system and lowers your blood pressure. In fact, even holding a pencil between your teeth (which activates your smile muscles) slows your heart rate and makes you feel calmer and happier.
Translating this happiness into kindness at work is not rocket science. Here are a few super simple ideas to get you started.
1. Smile and say good morning to people, no matter how busy you are or how much you hate mornings.
2. Show a friendly interest in your co-workers. Ask them how their weekends went. Compliment their new fabulous backpacks or their clever ideas for organizing the supply closet.
3. When colleagues are struggling, offer moral support. You could also bring them a beverage they like, or even lunch.
4. When a person at work helps you, thank that person, even if helping you is part of his or her job. Another nice touch: occasionally write thank-you notes to the people who work with or for you.
5. Remember birthdays and work-iversaries. A sincere “Happy birthday!” is all you need, but you could also throw in a treat or a card.
6. Take the time to listen to the ideas and suggestions of others, even if you’re pretty sure yours are better.
7. Resist pointing the finger of blame; instead, forgive mistakes and look for ways to help people improve.
8. Finally, treat support staff with respect (meaning, like the valuable, vital contributors they are).