Kindness can be one of the easiest human interactions we have, yet, one of the most difficult to display. It’s not hard to mutter a simple “hello” or “how are you” or even “thank you,” and yet it can really change someone else’s day for the better.
Recently, I observed an unfortunate workplace interaction that brought light to the kindness conversations (or lack thereof) I had as of late. Enter: two female colleagues with whom I work fairly closely (and they often work with each other).
There was some tension amongst them that particular day and I was exposed to the clear stiffness between them. The more senior person of the two walked in the room and acted as if the other person wasn’t standing 10 feet away. Awkward silence as all of the parties waited for the other to gesture, speak, something…anything. Nothing.
Why do some women treat other women poorly when we are supposed to support, nurture, and inspire? A simple “hello,” a smile, a “how is your day going” would have been appropriate (especially in the workplace), but instead, the tension spread to the few others in the room.
In most instances, we spend nearly as much time working as we do in our personal lives; although, some people might say we spend more time working.
Life is a reflection of what you put out into the world and kindness is needed in almost all personal and professional environments. As a professional woman, I’ve read lots of articles about how being the “nice girl” at work is holding me back or how nice people aren’t going to get ahead. I don’t know where that generates from, but a little kindness won’t kill you.
No one wants nor benefits from working or being in a hostile or toxic environment. A 2011 Harvard Business review article stated that when people enjoy where they work and feel a moderate level of trust, they become more engaged and productive in the environment. This has been proven. The situation I witnessed did not leave a positive impression on any parties involved and was very demotivating for most.
In case you’re lost, here are some simple ways I’ve found to spread kindness at the office:
-Make a fresh pot of coffee
-Volunteer and take a coworker with you
-Take a co-worker out to lunch
-Give a compliment
-Be the first to say hello
-Ask someone how they are and really listen to the answer
-Be nice to someone you dislike
-Make the best of your day
-Let go of a grudge
-Recognize someone for doing something awesome
-Be a cheerleader for someone else’s idea or project
-Say “please” and “thank you”
-Share a positive thought
Be responsible for the energy you bring to your workplace. Sharing kindness makes the world a little more pleasant for everyone and I think the world could use some pleasantry.
4 CommentsLeave a comment
So on point! Some people mistake kindness for weakness. I’ve never regretted connecting with others and doing what is SO simple. You never know how the smallest gesture can impact a person.
Wonderfully written Elizabeth.
It’s hard being the good girl, let alone the nice girl at work. So when you are in an environment where it’s the norm to be cold, it’s hard to be your nice bubbly self. I personally had someone say at my last employer that I couldn’t be that happy all the time. What a downer.
Thanks for the tips, I am looking forward to using them.
Ms. Posh Pugel,
I cannot applaud this more! Nice matters and as I recently told my daughter ” You can’t train nice”. Hire nice people you want to be around and you can train job skills and have a fantastic work environment! You have touched on many of my personal mission statement. Can’t wait to read more from you Professor!??✅??
Nicely stated, kindness matters. You walk the talk, and have always been such a kind supportive friend professionally and personally!