Regardless of what position we hold in our companies, we all have a choice; the choice to be kind. Some would say, though, that kindness can be more of a hindrance than an asset in the workplace. Let’s break down the two different perspectives, and you be the judge.
Throughout the many schools of thought regarding success, you don’t often find mention of kindness. Why is this? Could it be the prevailing attitude of ‘having to look out for #1’, or perhaps that nobody makes it to the proverbial ‘top’ by being nice? Both are common trains of thought, but what will be the lasting outcome of approaching your career in this fashion? Let’s consider three aspects that show that kindness can not only be an asset; when it’s authentically employed, it can be your legacy.
Key Questions/Topics Covered
Are you for real?
We have all witnessed it. The person who appears to be kind, but you just know they have an ulterior motive. The ones who have no problem climbing to the top on other people’s backs. Or how about the boss that goes on and on about the company’s accomplishments but keeps using the pronoun “I” instead of “we”? Can either of these people be counted as being genuinely kind?
We may be a large industry, but we are a well-connected one. A company or person with a reputation for being self-serving will get talked about, just not in a good way. Companies that foster an environment where employees are free to step on other employees or only care about the end result will have a very high turnover without many wanting to join due to that kind of reputation. More than ever before, people are looking for “real.” They don’t just want to talk about comfy workplace culture; they want the real thing, and a big part of this is based on kindness.
Will kindness be your legacy?
You may have just read that last paragraph and thought, “yeah, if only that worked.” And there is some truth to that. Kindness will only happen if people choose it. So you need to ask yourself, “will kindness be my legacy?” When you run into a situation where you need help, will your network be ready to jump in because you are known as a good person who helps out whenever you can? What about when you do succeed? Will there be anyone around to share and celebrate with you? Or are you going to look around and find empty spaces where colleagues and friends should be? Success can be measured in many different ways, one of which is how people will remember you and have stuck by you.
Rewarding kindness breeds kindness
Whether we are the CEO or just starting out, being kind generally results in others treating you the same way. Of course, there are always exceptions, but we have old sayings like ‘bees to honey’ that reinforce the principle. How amazing would it be if more companies targeted key qualities like kindness and rewarded them the way other financial benchmarks are celebrated? Imagine that company culture! Where do I sign up?
I know we have all heard the saying, “treat the CEO the same way you treat the janitor.” Well, I have lived it, and it has been one of the core reasons for my personal success. It doesn’t take much to be kind, but the return on investment can be immeasurable.
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