At work, are you someone known for your kindness? Consider the colleague or friend who is always willing to lend a hand or listen. Or the one who tries to help you succeed in your endeavors. Someone who remembers your birthday. Someone who likes to give back by serving as a mentor to young adults. Or the person who is a big cheerleader for their friends and colleagues, always celebrating the successes of others. A person willing to go out of their way to show kindness and support and help others is someone who can have a significant and positive impact on the lives of others.
Do people trust you and do you add value to their lives? Do you help people even when it’s inconvenient? What do you want people to think of when they think of you? How would you like them to describe you when you’re not around? So many people in the world today are trying to sell things or want to know what other people have to offer them or can do for them. Instead, look for ways you can add value to those around you.
Are you trying to become a more kind, helpful, compassionate or understanding person at work and at home? If you do, try selecting one quality or trait at a time you want to improve upon or develop. Step 2 is brainstorming some of the ways you can foster this trait and create a plan of action. You’ll then want to spend the next 30 days actively seeking opportunities to put your plan into action before reassessing and adjusting your strategy. For example, if you want to improve your ability to show kindness through gratitude, you might want to send a series of thank you cards. Every day or every few days, think of someone new who you’d like to express gratitude toward and write them a quick note. Or pick up the phone and let someone know how much you appreciate them. Send someone an encouraging note or e-mail. Make sure you’re letting your co-workers/employees know when they have done an awesome job.
Are you in a leadership role at work? Studies suggest a kind leader who is in tune with the feelings and struggles of others and takes steps to help can be a powerful and effective leader. In one study by the O.C. Tanner Institute, employees cited recognition from company leadership as the No. 1 factor that would inspire them to do their best job at the office. A 10-year research study by Harvard Business Review shows that kindness — and its ability to foster trusting and quality relationships — is strongly correlated to effective leadership. Even when you have to communicate bad news or let someone know they aren’t doing their job properly, deliver the message with compassion.
If you want to do a better job connecting with and supporting other people, look for ways all around you to get to know the people in your life and lend a helping hand or ask ‘how can I help?’. Consider helping someone in your personal or work life who has struggled; look for ways to mentor people just starting out in your industry or career path or find a new way to volunteer your time and to support others in your community.
Choosing to be kind and showing compassion isn’t always easy. It can be the more involved, time-consuming and complex choice in many situations. Rest assured, though, that qualities such as compassion and kindness are noticed and appreciated — and that demonstrating them to others can have a larger effect on your life than you have ever imagined.