Unfortunately, at a time when many are worried about doing everything they can to keep their jobs, the general mood at many workplaces is pretty somber. Just when kindness can make our work a little easier, the days go just a little faster, and everything just a little bit better we tend to keep our heads down just to try to survive the next line of layoffs.
It’s ridiculous how unkind we can be to our coworkers. If you are all working in the same place, even if you might be in different departments, you are on the same team; working toward the same goals. The general nastiness or indifference for one another affects everyone negatively breaking us down as individuals and as teams. It is impossible to think that our lack of kindness doesn’t affect the work environment. If kindness is lacking at your workplace, here are a few simple ways you can start a kindness revolution at your organization:
Lead by example if you are the leader at your organization. Make kindness a focus and pledge to be kind to everyone you encounter from vendors to clients to colleagues. Give your permission to call you on it when you forget your pledge. If a lack of kindness has been a problem for a while, you might have to move slowly. After all, you wouldn’t want your coworkers to walk in one day and think you’ve been brainwashed.
Put an end to petty criticism. Boy, are we tough on each other! We criticize just about everybody and everything. We talk about one another’s hair, clothes, cars, etc. We scrutinize every little word and laugh at each other’s mistakes. Give each other a break! Negativity should not be your default reaction.
Welcome new employees with open arms. Often it’s the new guy who gets the most abuse at work. It’s interesting that organizations can be short-staffed with everyone putting in extra time and effort, just praying the boss hires someone to lessen the burden, and then when the new guy does start, he is welcomed with less than open arms. What is up with that?
Recognize one another’s strengths, not weaknesses. In many workplaces, kindness goes out the door when younger and older employees must work together. Young employees get frustrated when their older colleagues can’t use the latest technology quickly and efficiently. And older workers become frustrated with their younger counterparts’ different work ethic. The problem is that the parties on both sides of the age gap are focusing on what they view as the other’s weakness. Encourage all to value what their teammates bring to the table. Remind everyone that there is a reason each of them was hired.
Be nice to the “others.” Many organizations suffer from intra-office turf wars. What results is departmental teams that are sometimes outright nasty to one another – the Sales team can’t stand Purchasing. Purchasing can’t stand the Warehouse. No one gets along with IT and on and on! The reality is everybody works hard. Try a little kindness with the people who work in other divisions. You might be surprised how it actually makes things better for you.