Do You Want a Kind or an Unkind Future?

 

If you want to change the world and have your own personal impact on our future, then always be a little kinder than necessary.

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.

Does kindness make the world a better place? Could our acts of kindness warm the coldness of other people’s lives?

In our mobile-global society, people across the planet are linked together via the Internet, satellite communications, social networking and even international products.

Could a network of person-to-person kindness eventually connect the world in a meaningful way?

The best person to answer your travel questions or guide you through the process of creating the perfect pasta sauce might be several thousand miles away, but still within your immediate access, ready to offer valuable advice, thanks to technology.

But is the opposite also true? How did you feel when the friend you met for coffee keeps incessantly checks her text messages? Is it possible to have love and compassion for all humankind without engaging in visible deeds of kindness with the people you are engaged with around you?

Try thinking about it this way. Do not ask me to be kind, just ask me to act as though I were kind. What do you think our future might look like if we all “acted” as if we were kind?

Reaching out to others with the intention to serve and no expectation of return rewards you with a sense of power and influence over situations that might appear out of your control. You are no longer a victim of an unfortunate circumstance.

An act of kindness is never insignificant. Kindness is manifestations of strength and resolutions.

Renowned psychotherapist and author Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW writes,  “Cruelty is never brave—it’s mostly cheap and easy, especially in today’s culture.”

Dare to be part of the brave new world. Be kind.

Nice and Successful

Unfortunately, business is often seen as a choice between being nice and being successful. But this is a fictitious trade-off.

Nice people are actually more successful, and evidence abounds to prove it. When a business consciously and consistently makes being nice their mantra, they not only exponentially spread kindness but also see the benefits flow right back to them!  Especially in the high stress, world economy, layered by global recessionary conditions, bucking the trend toward cutthroat competitiveness allows a business to distinguish itself.

Factors like a high reciprocity reserve, a strong reputation for customer care, and the power of a positive personality make for a sustainable, and successful, business model.

~Kristin Tillquist

(Thank you for your contribution this week, Kristin. With love, the CommonKindness Team.)

Does Kindness Make You More Successful?

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

Great Leadership is About Human Experiences, Not Processes

leadership flow chart

Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration—of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.

More than anything else today, followers believe they are part of a system, a process that lacks heart. If there is one thing a leader can do to connect with followers at a human, or better still a spiritual level, it is to become engaged with them fully, to share experiences and emotions, and to set aside the processes of leadership we have learned by rote.

The quote above is from an Industry Week article by Lance Secretan, who is an advisor to leaders, a public speaker, and a recipient of the International Caring Award.

Are corporate leaders who hold internal processes in higher regard that their customers’ experiences, as Moses might say, worshiping false gods?

Do Your Actions Support Your Values?

People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.  ~Lewis Cass

Actions do, in fact, speak louder than words.  People see what you do, and if it doesn’t align with what you’ve said—than you’ve immediately lost their trust, their admiration, and their willingness to follow.  And worst yet, your words have lost their meaning and value.

What effect would that have on your company?  Your team?  Your family?

As we lead, we must consider our priorities, beliefs and values.  They cannot be swept under the rug.  They must be lived.

What values does your company profess? Putting clients first?  Treating fellow employees with respect?  Being thrifty with spending?

What values do you uphold as a family?  Kindness to others?  Integrity?  Always doing what’s right?

Take a few moments and think about your actions over the last week.  Are you living out what you claim to hold important?  It’s a tough question we should all challenge ourselves with.  We are, after all, human.  We can, so often, get distracted or derailed.  What’s important, though, is that we recognize it, and then we commit to making the necessary changes to bring us back to the best of who we are.

Support what you say.  Model your values.  Let your actions do the speaking, because they’re what people hear anyway.

Erin Schreyer

President of Sagestone Partners

Do Good Bosses Get Good Results?

Kindness in corporate America

In the book, Leading with Kindness: How Good People Consistently Get Superior Results, authors William F. Baker and Michael O’Malley Ph.D. promote the idea that nice guys finish first.

They argue that kindness is much more than the give and take of benefits for supposed loyalty. Leaders who demonstrate sincerity, honesty and concern build more respect and get the most from their people.
Honesty, they say, is not merely about leaders telling the truth, it is equally important to be good at listening to the truth. In addition to creating an atmosphere of inclusion, executives who do not learn this skill can be blindsided when everything falls apart.
I like the concept, but I am still curious. What does a kind boss do that makes them so great?