“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
One of the activities that I enjoy over the holidays is reading or watching the movie version of A Christmas Story, by Charles Dickens. For those who haven’t read the book or seen the movie, the story involves a bitter and cranky old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who is transformed into a more kind and gentle person after a visit by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of the Christmas past, present and future. One person who is particularly pleased with the transformation of Scrooge is his employee, Bob Cratchit. For many years, Cratchit had suffered under the hand of his mean and cantankerous boss.
The transformation of Scrooge to a more kind and gentle person (and boss) made me think about kindness in the workplace. I think as women we often struggle with understanding what role, if any, kindness has at work. I believe that as women our natural inclination is to want to be kind at work but we worry that if we are, we will be perceived as being weak or soft, particularly when compared to our male colleagues. Once considered to be weak or soft, we fear that we may not or ever be respected.
So, does kindness have a place in the workplace? Absolutely. In fact, I believe that kindness is one of the most important traits that a leader can have. Being kind demonstrates strength and courage and fosters the development of these traits in others. Colin Powell in his book It Worked For Me, talked about the skills needed to be a drill sergeant. While soldiers are taught to fear his or her drill sergeant, the best drill sergeant aims to also instill strength and courage in their soldiers. By building strength through kindness, drill sergeants are better able to deliver tough decisions.
By being kind, you empower those you work with by increasing their self-worth and giving them the strength and courage they need to be the best that they can be. This certainly is not being weak or soft. In fact, by being kind, you will make those around you happy and they will be happy and engaged co-workers and employees. Moreover, your kindness will have a tremendous impact on your organization because more times than not, kindness breeds more kindness. Think of what your business or company could achieve by embracing a culture of kindness and think how respected you will be for leading the way.
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu
This post was written by Lisa Mueller.