The Value of Kindness
What value do you place on kindness? In some workplaces, it can be considered a sign of weakness! Also, considering the range of personality types and behaviours that we come across it can be considered that there is no room for kindness by some, for example within narcissists. This is a very important consideration in the case of narcissist behaviour in the workplace where no kindness is shown at all. This leads to a question, is there value in kindness in general, in the workplace and for extremes in personality types and can they change? My previous Blog “How to build Trust” highlighted the incredible examples of community support and caring for each other: the Australian spirit coming to the forefront during a crisis built on a foundation of trust and kindness to others. Also, research indicates that kindness is being built into company performance and altering extreme personalities.
“Through your kindness to others, your mind and heart will open to peace.” ― Dalai Lama
Kindness gets a bad Rap
Kindness does get a bad rap as shown in the article. “How Kindness Boosts Your Bottom Line” Sure, everyone tells you when you’re a kid to be kind. But when you start adulting and enter the workforce, kindness is often equated to weakness. Corporate environments encourage employees to be self-starters, disciplined, or maybe even aggressive, depending on the nature of your job or company. But kind? Rarely. Most company cultures assign little to no value to kindness. Turns out, a growing body of research indicates that companies with kindness baked into their culture are more productive and more profitable. A kindness revolution is quietly under way at some of the world’s largest companies. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently described Amazon’s culture as “friendly and intense.” Striking a balance between a determined atmosphere and a friendly one has made Amazon one of the most profitable companies in the world. Its revenue in 2018 was just shy of $233 billion, and its website is the 7th most visited in the world. Now that’s some serious ROI.
A November 2019 article by Tim Denning “Do Business with Kindness and You’ll 10x Performance” indicates by giving more, you get more in business. It also outlines why kindness is good for business as follows:
- It changes how you act
- You give more
- You never know who you are impacting
- Changing business models
- It brings your team closer
- It is remembered
Companies are introducing the Kindness KPI
Other companies are introducing the Introducing the Kindness Performance Indicator.
Ever since the start of the industrial revolution, employees have been viewed as production units. The terms FTE, headcount and human resources, all reflect that ‘mechanical’, and still very industrial view. Now let’s consider adding the human element, perhaps better referred to as the ‘social’ aspect. We can all acknowledge that a happy employee is generally more productive and engaged. If this sounds simple, you’re right, it is. Empathy, kindness, attention, appreciation and valuing an employee’s contribution are all ‘free’ management tools that make the difference between a bad employer and a great place to work where every employee’s wellbeing is important. We know these qualities and management principles instinctively and yet we rarely think to apply them. “I’ve no time, I’m too busy, and… it’s not on my bonus scorecard”. It seems we’ve come full circle. To incorporate these principles we need to redesign the way we measure performance and success using the established KPI model.
A January 2019 article “How Kindness Increases Employee Performance: Using the Golden Rule at Work” indicates that kindness makes us better – whether we’re giving it, receiving it, or witnessing it. An example of kindness inspires us and teaches us how to give more, help others, and improve ourselves.
Lucy Douglas, Positive News highlighted “Four ways to clock in with kindness” which included:
- Real face time
- Schedule kindness
- Pay a compliment
- Offer support
Even Narcissists can Change to be Kind
Even Narcissists can change as they can’t be narcissistic in a vacuum. They need the right audience in order to feel like a star, for example, so they often cultivate relationships with people who stick around for the show, instead of the person. Over time, as their perfect façade starts to slip, their constant fear that people will find them lacking becomes a horrifying reality. The very people who stuck around for the show lose interest when it ends—which merely convinces the narcissist they need to hide their flaws and put on a better show.
The key, then, to interacting with someone you suspect is narcissistic is to break the vicious circle—to gently thwart their frantic efforts to control, distance, defend or blame in the relationship by sending the message that you’re more than willing to connect with them, but not on these terms; to invite them into a version of intimacy where they can be loved and admired, warts and all—if they only allow the experience to happen.
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What all narcissists have in common, he said, “is a strong drive to feel special — or stand out from the other 7 billion people on the planet — but they go about it in different ways.” “Narcissists are capable of change but it’s not easy,” she said. “They are also capable of empathy once they engage in the hard work of truly knowing themselves at the deepest emotional level, facing the underlying shame and insecurity and loneliness that often lies beneath their blustery exterior.” Malkin explained that empathy can be difficult for narcissists, but some research indicates that they are, indeed, capable of it. It just may not be their default response.
How to cultivate Kindness
My Blog “Great Bosses appreciate others” shows how to display kindness as a leader by:
- Saying thank you
- Acknowledging their great work
- Asking about what they are passionate about outside of work
- Thanking people in other teams
- Encouraging everyone to show appreciation
- Showing acts of service
- Buying them a coffee
- Sending them a thank you card
- Sending them a lovely email or call them
- Sending their boss an appreciation email
- Making sure they have a voice in meetings and thank them for contributing
Leadership is about action and actions speak louder than words. Be a leader who genuinely cares about employees. Two of the most basic human desires are validation and appreciation — we need to feel like we matter and we are worthy. People want to feel appreciated, respected and included. This is why kindness and courage matter. It takes courage to be kind and focus on appreciating others especially during tough times. Choose to see the best in others. Choose to see what makes them amazing. Let them know the amazing things you see. Play to your team’s strengths and everyone wins.
Leadership isn’t easy and sometimes we need help. I am always here.
Get in touch today to learn more about how to show kindness as a Leader and set yourself up for success!
Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.