Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Anne M Houston - Consultant and Coach
Kindness isn’t something most people think about when they consider qualities that are important for employees and leaders. But, kindness can affect all aspects of business and can lead to more focused, resilient and productive workers who will be more likely to work hard and produce great results.
Kindness in the workplace can be defined in many different ways – some big and some small. It can be as simple as stopping to say hello to a colleague despite pressing deadlines in your day, or larger acts like working to pass on your knowledge and skills to younger colleagues.
So, just how can kindness improve your organisation?
1. Increases resilience of workers
Being kind to others was reported as a key tool for increasing resilience by Martin Seligman in his work ‘Authentic Happiness’. During his research he found that one random act of kindness each day makes a significant difference to people’s ability to deal with challenges at work.
This means being kind to those around us could benefit us too by making us better able to deal with challenges and potential setbacks in the workplace. Having employees and those in leadership roles benefit in this way could lead to better output and therefore a more motivated workforce.
2. Decreases stress levels
High stress levels are a massive problem in today’s busy society, but it has been shown that acts of kindness can help to decrease stress levels. Random Acts of Kindness stated that of those they studied, “many reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth” [source] after simply being kind to those around them.
Workers who are less stressed and feel calmer and more settled in the workplace will undoubtedly produce better work and contribute to a happier, more productive organisation.
3. Helps workers feel valued in what they do
Daniel Goleman has discussed the importance of investing in a positive emotional bank balance in our working relationships as a means of creating and nurturing a healthy and productive workplace. He talks about investing in emotional bank accounts in order to make people feel valued, appreciated and understood.
By doing this, workers output will begin to increase as they feel valued and appreciated in their position. If you need extra from colleagues you’ll be more likely to receive it as they already know that they and their work are appreciated.
This can also lead to new ideas and concepts being brought forward from employees as they know they are understood and that their suggestions for improvement will be appreciated. All of this contributes towards a more positive work environment and a more successful organisation.
4. Increases health
Did you know being kind and witnessing kindness around you is good for your health? “Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism.” [source] Healthy workers are going to be happier and more productive workers, thus improving business overall.
What ways can you promote kindness in the workplace in order to improve business performance?