Here’s a New Year’s Resolution–spread some kindness in the office. A little kindness will go a long way.
“Kindness is necessary in the office because all business is by and between human beings, and human beings like to be treated with kindness. If you are kind, people will remember you. If they remember you, they will be there to help you out when you need it,” notes Nancy Marshall, CEO, The PR Maven.
Since you probably spend the majority of your day in the office, why not make it a pleasant setting. “For people who think that all business should be serious and strict, they should think about how many hours in our lifetime we spend at work. The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. Wouldn’t you rather be in an environment of caring and kindness, than seriousness and callousness?” asks Marshall. “Remember that human beings are programmed to engage with people who are kind and thoughtful, so if you show some of these traits at work, you will gain more friends and influence more people.”
And if you share kindness it will encourage others to do the same. “Kindness is a form of service to others. In these times of superficiality sincere kindness makes others feel important and they will repay your kindness with kindness of their own,” points out Life and Performance Coach Shannon McGurk, founder of Authentic Masculinity Executive Coaching.
Acts of Kindness for the Office
–Break bread together: “Bring in food, ideally something homemade: muffins, cookies, coffee cake. Leave it in the break room with a note telling people to help themselves,” suggests Marshall.
–Say something nice. “Pay a genuine compliment. If you are a man addressing another man, keep it very short: ‘Excellent tie.’ or ‘Strong suit.’ If you are a man complimenting a woman, ask permission. Say, ‘May I pay you a compliment?’ She will usually say yes. When she does, say, ‘That’s a beautiful color,’” says McGurk.
–Help out your co-workers: “If someone is sick or has a personal issue at home, offer to pick up some of the slack for them so they can focus on getting better or dealing with their issue,” says Marshall.
–Grab a cup of java for your cubicle mate: “Offer to get someone a cup of coffee. Say, ‘I’m going to grab a cup of coffee. Would you like one?’ Offer to get both the boss and the secretary coffee…There is no shame in serving others. We all need to feel important and valued. Learn to do this with dignity,” says McGurk.
–Mix business and pleasure: “Tell your boss you would like to help organize a social event such as a potluck luncheon, a lunch n’ learn session (you supply the pizza), or a family outing at a bowling alley after work,” offers Marshall.
–Be interested: “Remember to ask people about the most important things in their lives. It could be to see how their children are doing or how their aging parents are faring. If they have outside activities. If you know what life goals they are working to achieve, ask if they need any support. If you don’t know about their private lives, ask,” advises Marcia Reynolds, doctor of psychology and author of “Outsmart Your Brain,.” “I believe a ‘connected culture’ where people show they care about and respect each other is the most productive atmosphere for achieving results. Competition can backfire. Not everyone likes “rah rah” speeches. But all humans want to be seen, understood, and valued.”