07 Nov World Kindness Day: Three Ways to Lead With Kindness
When I entered the workforce in the mid-90s, kindness at work wasn’t an expectation. It was seen as a weakness. Phrases promoting “greed is good” and “let’s crush the competition” had become the norm. Of course, many of my coworkers were kind; however, the road to the executive level seemed to be less kind.
At that time, when meeting with my Fortune 200 executive, he told me I was “too nice” and I “would be eaten alive” if I continued to lead with kindness. Now we know the opposite is true.
Science proves that kindness is your competitive advantage at work. Kindness improves sales, boosts team collaboration and reduces attrition. When expressing kindness from a place of authenticity, relationships improve, trust deepens and so does your influence. In a tight labor market (or in any market), leaders and organizations benefit when they lead with kindness.
In the spirit of World Kindness Day on November 13th, I’ve noted three actions we can take to lead with kindness. (There are so many more!)
Three Ways to Raise Your Influence by Leading With Kindness
1. Celebrate Others
According to a Harvard research study, people who celebrate small, incremental wins are more likely to build momentum to reach the bigger wins. This is called the Progress Principle. Asking your team(s) to highlight their wins during one-on-one meetings and in group settings is an easy way to express kindness.
I recommend adding “Celebration Time” to your meeting agendas. This fun, simple exercise encourages employees to think creatively, acknowledge their impact and celebrate everything from small gestures to large milestones. Celebrating others enhances your commitment to invest in your employees’ well-being and professional development and also leaves your team members feeling good and ready to do more.
If you’re not a manager of people, chances are you interact with teammates, clients or vendors. Who can you celebrate today via email, in person or on social media? While you’re at it, make sure you celebrate your own wins today.
2. Advocate for Others
A more diverse and inclusive workplace is critical to a company’s success and the forward movement of everyone who is marginalized. One critical and kind step is advocating for others in the workplace.
Here are a few ways to advocate:
- Champion for a diverse panel of interviewers as well as interviewees when seeking job candidates for roles within your company.
- During brainstorming and team sessions, create a safe space and encourage everyone to speak their point of view, even those with dissenting opinions.
- Stand beside someone who is advocating for themselves so they don’t have to go at it alone. There is power in numbers. Your influence may be instrumental for creating positive change.
3. Express Concern & Understanding for Others
This may seem fundamental, but expressing concern and understanding for others is often overlooked when we’re crunched for time and riddled with stress. Think of a time when a friend or mentor really listened and showed empathy to you during a challenging period at work. You may have heard words like, “Thank you for sharing. I can only imagine how you must be feeling right now. What can I do to support you?”
Those kind words likely drew you closer to your friend or mentor. What if your boss or teammate did the same? Would it make a difference in how you contribute at work?
If your good intentions get pushed to the side during busy times like mine do, schedule personal check-ins. It’s amazing how quickly time flies, so this is a tip I highly recommend.
If you’re already doing these things, then you’re way ahead of most people. Your positive influence is sending ripples throughout your organization. I thank you for leading with kindness. It takes courage and tenacity to be a kind leader.
Your turn: Have you noticed a difference in your teams or with others when you’ve led with kindness or been on the receiving end of it? I’m collecting stories of courageous, kind leaders, and I’d like to hear about your experiences. Send me an email and let’s connect.