Remember when your earliest teachers kept reminding you and your classmates to be nice? As it turns out, you were being introduced to one of the most beneficial — and needed — business traits. In fact, professionals who exhibit kindness are now seen as having a serious competitive edge.
What’s so powerful about being kind? Above all else, it attracts people to you and keeps them engaged. That’s a huge advantage if you’re an entrepreneur, director, or team leader trying to avoid turnover. According to Gallup, 57% of workers who left a job in 2021 cited “disrespect” as a primary cause. A little kindness from their colleagues may well have encouraged them to stay.
A different survey from Ernst & Young of people who left one employer for another supports Gallup’s findings. Nearly nine out of 10 participants named “empathy” as a must-have characteristic of strong leaders. Typically, empathy and kindness go hand-in-hand, making them a dynamic pair of personality attributes.
Of course, acting with grace provides you with a few gifts, too. Academic studies show that when you push positivity outward, it comes back to you. Specifically, people who were generous with time, money, energy, etc., were more satisfied with life. Many were also less affected by stress and burnout.
If you like the idea of manifesting goodness and optimism, try these tips to keep the kindness flowing. Practicing them regularly will help you become your best possible self and model kind behaviors for others to follow.
1. Learn from kindness specialists and experts.
You may be unfamiliar with how to bring kindness into your daily routines, especially at work. Plenty of career-driven individuals have grown up believing that the only way to get ahead is to be aggressive or cold. That’s not true, but it can be tough to reverse course without some assistance.
One way to start on the path to learning about kindness is to read books and listen to podcasts from kindness specialists. Then take what you hear and start applying it to various areas of your life. If a particular kindness guru really speaks to your heart, consider bringing that person in to talk with your team. This allows you to educate others in the joy and compassion of leading with kind ways and words.
Kindness Catalyst Marissa Andrada explains that your efforts will start to pay off at work and home. “Always lead with kindness and never forget the platinum rule: Treat people the way THEY want to be treated!” she says. “Being kind is infectious and is the foundation for the willingness to give and help others. When you are intentional about being kind, it can begin a movement to pay it forward to others and change the world, one person at a time.” In other words, you may experience an upswing in work productivity and quality, as well as harmony on the homefront and in life.
2. Commit one sincere expression of gratitude daily.
You’ve probably heard of random acts of kindness. Are you exercising your ability to pass those out at least once a day? Even if you’re incredibly busy, you can always make time for a compliment. And you might just be surprised at how meaningful that compliment could be to you and the recipient.
Three authors writing for Harvard Business Review discovered just how meaningful genuine compliments could be. They discovered that being kind had a psychological boomerang effect: Their conclusion? “Consistently, we found that giving compliments actually made people happier than receiving them.”
That doesn’t mean you should use your random acts of kindness to buoy your own spirit. However, there’s no harm in getting a boost while you’re boosting someone else. The outcome carries an all-around benefit either way.
3. Become a regular volunteer.
It may seem like you never have enough time to volunteer. But volunteering is the ultimate in showing kindness. When you volunteer, you show your support and compassion. Plus, you get to meet others who are aligned with your values and purpose. Don’t be surprised if some of them turn into business referrers, partners, vendors, employees, or bosses.
Just one word of caution: Be careful not to spread yourself too thin. Volunteering can become addictive because it feels so good. Nevertheless, you need to pace yourself. Make sure you only engage in service efforts where you can give 100% to the experience. You’ll avoid resenting your time away from family, friends, or your business.
Speaking of your business, be open to volunteering as a company. Many organizations schedule quarterly, semi-annual, or annual volunteer days. Paying your people to do something good for others showers kindness across your community. Additionally, it indicates to your staff that you’re serious about perfecting the art of kind thinking and doing.
Kindness may be one of the least expensive yet most dependable ways to change the world. Try incorporating a little of it into every day, just like your teachers advised so long ago.