Kindness at work is hard. It is not because we don’t want to be kind to each other. We do. It is just that the world moves so fast that it is often a struggle to keep up with the things that are in front of us. One more email or urgent meeting, gets in the way.
Yet small, everyday kindnesses create real joy, for both the receiver and the giver. And the effort required is often disproportionate to the impact. There is a real return on the investment.
Beyond the human joy that kindness creates (which, of course, should be enough of a reason to be kind), there is also a business reason for why it makes sense. Kindness makes people happy, and happy people work harder, which in turn helps businesses do well. Kindness is not a soft thing to talk about; it actually leads to hard results. Kindness generates better profits. David Maister, a business author and former professor at Harvard, calls this ‘the service profit chain’: happy people, happy clients, happy profits.
Kindness is not a soft thing to talk about; it actually leads to hard results. Kindness generates better profits.
For me, this is not the main reason for being kind, because I believe true kindness should be done for the joy it brings, in quiet, unassuming ways… Ways that touch hearts and inspire. It does, however, provide a reason for the argument that kindness is vitally important, when confronting any hard-nosed business naysayers.
Sometimes true kindness requires real courage and strength. It is about being prepared to have those ‘tough love’ conversations. Those great conversations that give candid feedback to help people learn, stretch and grow.
I encourage everyone to try and find some way to increase the number of kind acts they do every day. They do not have to be large or extravagant; simply find small ways to be kind consciously every day. More importantly, it is about giving someone an in-the-moment piece of feedback that they can learn from. Having the strength to be truly kind. It will ensure your life is full of joy. It will help you build a community of kindness around you and, when we do this, we have the power to change the world.
The Power of Kindness
‘The Power of Kindness: Kind leaders shaping the future’ provides further compelling evidence that kindness has a positive impact on organisational culture and performance. Working with the Saïd Business School, Hall & Partners have taken the insights from their work and combined them with our own research, pulling together an insightful and thought-provoking booklet for the Women of the Future programme.
It asks: What makes a leader kind? What does kindness in leadership look like in the workplace?