HomeBusinessUp the Kindness Quotient in Your Business — And Why You Should

Up the Kindness Quotient in Your Business — And Why You Should


Technical skills, expertise, and accolades typically come to mind when one thinks about what it takes to be successful. However, a stack of hard skills can’t make up for the lack of those of the softer persuasion. Soft skills are even more important in a technologically-advanced workplace, and even among the more technically inclined. After all, we’re working in human workplaces, and an effective, productive organization requires a strong presence of soft skills.

Interpersonal skills, communication, and problem-solving help every type of organization function at its highest level. One common thread that’s required for these skills to be deployed effectively is kindness. But kindness isn’t just checking in with others’ personal lives or letting them use the breakroom microwave first. Kindness at work can lead to stronger teams, talent retention, and better results across your business. Leaders can up the kindness quotient in their business as early as today using these easy-to-implement strategies.

1. Lead the Way

Your team looks to you for guidance on strategic initiatives and organizational priorities, but they’re also watching your behavior. Leaders set the tone for workplace cultures and if your behavior doesn’t match your core company values, you’re already behind. If creating a kindness culture at work is a priority, leaders can see quick progress by simply modeling kind behavior. Humans naturally mirror one another, especially when interacting with those in leadership roles. Your tone, body language, and message delivery can seep into your organization simply by being an example.

Top consultants are integrating kindness into their workplace culture initiatives, which can further support more tactical programs. Culture master and kindness catalyst Marissa Andrada has developed culture strategies at Chipotle, Gamestop, and Starbucks. This work led to her kindness-first mantra. She believes “being kind is infectious and is the foundation for the willingness to give.” When leaders take the first step toward encouraging kindness, it will help optimize team performance and drive business outcomes.

Addressing unkind behavior is also a requirement for leaders to consider, especially as toxic negativity can dismantle otherwise positive workplaces. Work with managers to identify colleagues whose kindness quotient could use a boost. Take the opportunity to speak with them individually, getting to know them and exploring the source of their current behavior.

This personalized touch may reveal unmet needs at work that can be easily addressed. By extending empathy and kindness to even the most negative colleague, you’re modeling the behavior you’re instilling organization-wide.

2. Establish a Relationship-First Culture

Workplaces are made up of people, so investing in cultivating kind, productive relationships between them is essential for producing results. While ticking off items on a to-do list is necessary, the rigidity of status updates can deteriorate human connections. Hold space and create the expectations that teams should allow time to get to know one another. Establish guidelines for meetings and reinforce these best practices consistently to solidify their adoption.

Conduct listening tours among your executives and leaders to gain a greater understanding of the workplace as a whole. Offer rotational opportunities for individual contributors to better understand the business and the work lives of their colleagues. Organize affinity groups and social gatherings to bring people together under a common interest. These tactics provide opportunities for people whose roles may never intersect to get to know one another.

When teams build relationships outside of projects, they’re happier and produce better results. By establishing rapport, employees understand the intricacies of the factors influencing work. Provide time before meetings to connect using icebreakers or sharing stories. At first, these habits will require nurturing, but as colleagues get to know one another better, it’ll become second nature.

3. Train Leaders on Feedback Best Practices

Annual reviews, project assessments, and metrics reports can be stressful events for even the most confident employee. Team leaders aren’t always well-trained in how to deliver feedback that’s actionable and leads to desired results.

Human resources leaders have been increasingly moving toward 360-feedback cultures, where managers, direct reports, and colleagues weigh in on work. But simply providing feedback isn’t enough. Message delivery, even when the results aren’t great, makes a major difference in what happens after the review.

Conduct organizational training on delivering constructive feedback in any situation and empower them to deploy these strategies often. Authentic, kind, and empathetic feedback is possible with the right training and reinforcement. First, state the purpose of providing feedback, share observations, and allow time for the recipient to respond. Open-ended questions allow the recipient to share their perspective and additional context.

By shifting toward a kindness-first model, where everyone assumes positive intent, workplaces can thrive. Without fear of admonishment, shame, or extreme consequences, colleagues can collaborate, re-adjust strategies, and pursue greater results without setbacks. Over time, this approach can create open dialogues before issues arise, which can further improve outcomes and employee satisfaction.

Adopt Kindness as a Core Company Value

With kindness at your core, teams can focus on doing their best work. Integrate language, principles, and the expectation of organization-wide kindness just as you would your revenue targets. Reinforce the adoption of kindness by recognizing its presence every time you witness it in action. Acknowledgment during a meeting or through an employee award goes a long way to solidifying kindness as a core value.

Those outside of your organization are taking note of kindness in the workplace, too. Potential candidates scour website reviews of employee experience for red flags and encouraging reviews. Clients pay attention to your company’s reputation heard first-hand and through more widely-distributed mediums. Ensure your company culture is telling the right story by protecting your kindness quotient. When you do, your employees can do their best work alongside colleagues that care.




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