The Kindness of Strangers

Kindness is on trend right now. Writers, coaches and consultants everywhere are drilling CEOs and leaders on the importance of the simple act, the kind gesture, and the largesse it brings to the business landscape.

Here at #HR it’s a mantra of ours. Acts of kindness and ordinary humility are the stuff of life. We sometimes wish we could bottle them and mist the corporate offices of our clients and colleagues with this precious and aromatic vapour!

Because simple courtesies are noticed when given and received on an individual level. But when they’re built into the collective mindset and everyday habits of a workplace community, they can really pack a punch - in the nicest possible way!

Try these - and see if you start a new trend.

 

SMILE

Children need little encouragement to smile or laugh, but sadly this often eludes us as we grow older! One of our most basic human gestures, it’s a gift we can bestow upon anyone - friends, work colleagues and strangers alike. In some workplaces it’s a dead set must - think what a difference a smile makes in retail. Everyone from Lily Allen to Tony Bennett urges us to do it. We think they’re onto something.

 

BE PATIENT

It’s a virtue, most definitely. Waiting in line? Service isn’t getting any faster just because you’re rolling your eyes. Practicing acceptance actually makes the wait bearable. Try to remember that time isn’t only our own, but something shared by us all. And some people need more of it than others. In everyday life that could be the elderly gentleman who’s taking his time to get on the bus. Or his wife, who’s paying for groceries in coins. We take our collective hat off to the shop assistant listening to the details of his regular customer’s medical condition. He asked ‘How are you today?’ and he meant it. Patience should be a way of life. Let’s bring some of it to work with us too.

 

LISTEN

We’re full of stories, our life is made up of them. And sometimes it’s our turn to listen. It’s a fine art to be able to lend an ear to a colleague or friend who needs to be heard, whether they’re sad, happy, disgruntled or inspired. We have much to learn - beyond the realms of the story. The details of what we’re hearing are, in a way, immaterial. What we’re learning is to give of ourselves. What we’re exercising is empathy. Both have an essential place in life, and in the office.

 

BRING YOUR HEART TO WORK

True helpfulness sees us engaging with people beyond the call of duty. It means we do more than just give assistance when asked. It means we give it warmly and openly, making sure the beneficiary of our wisdom truly understands and is confident in getting on with the task! What’s more they might have enjoyed the connection they’ve just made with us.

 

And perhaps when we hold the door open for the person behind us, we linger long enough to make sure it doesn’t clip them when we let go. ‘

Do that for someone at work, and you’re team building just as assuredly as if you were collaborating on a project. Do it for a stranger outside of the office, and you’re building a community.  

We have our failings as a species. Let’s bring some of our more precious human qualities to work with us. Kindness is one of our greatest and most intuitive. It’s what sets us apart.

That’s better than being on trend anyday!

 

 

Disclaimer: This post is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal advice should be sought in particular matters to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance only.

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Thursday, 23 November 2017
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