If you had the choice, would you choose to be kind or to be successful? Many people see life, particularly in respect to business, as a choice between the two. We hear it when people say, “Good guys finish last” or “no good deed goes unpunished,” right?
You know that being successful takes many things—determination, intelligence, well-defined goals, and even a little good luck. But, are you aware that kindness also creates success? In fact, you need kindness more than anything else to be successful.
A caring attitude toward others underpins great leadership, builds cohesive teams, encourages listening and effective communication, provides a safe platform necessary for solving problems, stimulates creativity, drives efficient customer service, and inspires quality workmanship. In a kind environment, people are at ease and can show up to do their best work. A sense of loyalty is possible.
In her book, “Capitalizing on Kindness,” author Kristen Tillquist lays out the facts and statistics that demonstrate the economic impacts of caring and kindness on bottom lines. She writes, “To be successful in the 21st century global marketplace, simply demonstrate care for others in business.”
For most people, kindness comes easily when interacting with those in positions of higher authority and power than their own. Do you threaten your banker, confront the judge hearing your traffic court plea, or argue with your priest? In contrast, it can be much more difficult to extend kindness down the food chain, to those from which we have nothing to personally gain.
When Meryl Streep first met Anne Hathaway, she embraced her young co-star in The Devil Wears Prada and exclaimed: “I think you’re perfect for the role and I’m so happy we’re going to be working on this together.” The established Hollywood star then drew back, fixed the young actress with a gimlet eye, and added: “I warn you, that’s the last nice thing I’m going to say to you.” Then again, it was only a movie. Streep’s success demonstrates the true kindness and success theory.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson