As leaders we want a happy workplace for our teams.
We want teams to be productive.
We wish for connectedness and involvement.
In hybrid workplaces of today hearing someone say
‘Come join us for lunch today’ or ‘Thanks for the coffee’ or seeing teams high fiving one another is a rare occurrence.
Opportunities for social connection have reduced. With this the opportunity for joy has reduced too.
The one quality worthy of your practice in this year – Kindness.
The Buddhist tradition calls this “metta”.
It is from the Pali language and means positive energy and kindness toward others.
I was first introduced to it when I did the 10 days Vipassana course. When I began to see the world with ‘metta eyes’ it became easier to manage relationships, enrich some specific ones and ease myself into difficult ones too.
If you wish some ideas to learn and practice Metta meditation you can look up https://mindworks.org/blog/getting-started-metta-meditation.
Leaders – a kindness practice gives you the following benefits
- Team members feel recognized and valued as individuals not just in their professional roles.
- Valued team members are known to feel more fulfilled when they experience your kindness.
- Your kindness helps your colleagues feel better about their situation and ease their emotional state.
- Overall morale of your team stays high when they work within a culture of kindness at work.
- Individuals experience more positive emotions which in turn impact their involvement in all that they do.
- You become known as a leader with high EQ.
- You will feel more connected to your team thereby leading with greater influence and ease.
- You will feel good about yourself as you do selfless acts of kindness. We are biologically wired for this.
- Your overall health improves as kindness is known to enhance our own wellbeing.
- You enhance your teams’ capacity to collaborate and innovate which leads to an increase in their productivity.
- Kindness is underrated in the organizations. Talked about too little and practiced too seldom.
One of the reasons is the ‘hustle culture’ we have fallen prey to. In this culture there is no time to think of the other. We are hustling with tunnel vision – only our goals matter not another’s.
Secondly, many of us leaders are not in touch with the relational angle to leading. When we say ‘people matter’ ‘human resource is the real resource’ the focus is mainly on performance and numbers not actually on the human aspect.
We need to see the whole human being in our team members- with their emotions, their pains, their frailty, their aspirations and their imperfections. We need to ourselves be in touch with the joy of giving and receiving.
We need to be able to look beyond our role, title and deliverables.
Here are 16 ways of practicing kindness at work:
1.Giving compliments for small and big actions.
2.Stroke people not just for what they do but also who they are ‘being’.
3.Check on other’s personal wellbeing in one on ones scheduled or unscheduled.
4.Extend help and support in times of familial stress.
5.Smile and enquire how people are at the start of a meeting.
6.Make check in time longer to really know the team’s moods.
7.Do random acts of kindness in an elevator, in the lunchroom or in meetings.
8.Extend your personal support by using your network to help a team member with a problem.
9.Create a ‘kindness board’ every quarter. A place for teams to express gratitude and care for each other.
10.Introduce a peer as a mentor to a team member.
11.If a team member is unwell remember to ask how they are doing. Send a handwritten card or flowers, it always cheers people.
12.Share your lunch and lunch table with a team member.
13.Listen when others speak- put away your phone.
14.Drop an argument with a peer- smile and ease up.
15.Use humor to lighten up a tough conversation with peers.
16.Surprise team lunches, movie tickets or attending a sport event together is great too.
What other acts of kindness can we add to this list?
Suggested readings https://physis.co.in/work-with-happiness/
Sailaja Manacha, a MCC, is known for her programs and coaching methods that combine psychology with leadership practices. In her work, Sailaja draws from Psychology, Ontology, NLP and Spiritual frameworks as well as rich, real-world experiences.