" He Who is Afraid of Asking is Afraid of Learning... " ~ (Danish Proverb)

Killing Them with Kindness…Corporate Kindness

We have all heard the saying: “kill them with kindness”…and what about one of my newest favorites: “don’t mistake my kindness for weakness…”

Quite frankly, and in my humble opinion (which we all realize isn’t so humble if I am voicing it here :) ) – kindness is often overrated!!! True kindness, like that which comes from a nun, priest or Mother Teresa – is not overrated – nor the small acts of kindness which come unexpectedly to us from those we love and who love us. Not overrated at all.

But there is a whole other society of kindness – let’s call it “Corporate kindness” which still has not come into its own. I have worked in the Corporate world, pseudo-Corporate world, and liaised with Corporate clients long enough to know that kindness is not well appreciated in these circles. Why? Perhaps because it may not have a place – as kind as you may be to a co-worker or colleague, let us not forget the reason everyone’s there: to earn a paycheck, meet deadlines, produce results, and stay away from trouble. Work = Work. Work ≠ Fun and Work ≠ Charity , otherwise we’d all call it ‘Fun’ or ‘Charity’, wouldn’t we?

Workplace kindness can and is often misplaced and misunderstood. Kindness, in fact, can become controversial in the Corporate environment. Some may mistake kindness for manipulation, others for competition, still others for weakness, and a vast majority for unprofessionalism.

Kindness is readily perceived as an attribute of a human being, not necessarily that of a solid worker, manager, director, VP or CEO. Kindness is a close sibling to compassion and character and associates nicely with respect and fair play – aren’t those key attributes of someone you would want to hire (?); yet it remains a step often left unwritten in employee handbooks.

But kindness can be just as easily cultivated as it is dismissed. It is a top down and bottom up trait. Those on the top who practice Corporate kindness can set the emotional tone, and those on the bottom can maintain it – thereby producing a reciprocity which could potentially filter throughout an organization and across departments and business units. I know , Crayola just invented a crayon the color of naïve, but I do believe it’s possible. In looking back on my own experiences, the superiors for whom I worked the hardest were inherently the kindest; and the employees to whom I was the kindest deserved it most for their character and work ethic.

Realize, however, that some in an organization may simply not possess the capacity to know, understand or be kind. They may continue to dismiss or look down upon the trait as weak or useless and proceed with their stoic/manipulative/scheming ways. But, wouldn’t it be great if they were the exception and not the rule?

Yes, work certainly is about getting things done, producing results and earning a living – but I would argue that kinder Corporate cultures cultivate more productive employees who, in turn, produce better results. If you take care of the emotions of those who take care of your business, your business may just take care of itself.

Try a little kindness….

Wishing You Success,

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