Intentionally Inspirational was founded on the idea that being a small business owner is a tough and bumpy road. That’s why we always aspire to provide motivational and inspirational content. What better thing to inspire than kindness.
These are tumultuous times. There is a lot of anger, frustration, and resentment circulating on social media and in the news. So, I thought this week it might be a good idea to create a post with a topic that circumvents all racial, political, and religious divides…be kind.
What does it mean to be kind?
As I was thinking about what to write this week, I Googled the definition of kind. What I found was a really cool website by a teenager in Oklahoma. Project Kindness OK is all about being kind. To identify what kind is, the site’s founder Annie, asked people what kindness means to them.
The replies varied, but there were some common themes, such as:
- Seeing something good in everyone;
- Treat others how you want to be treated;
- Have compassion;
- Do the right thing, even when it’s hard;
- Help one another;
- Put positive thoughts into action;
- Make people feel loved;
- Take an extra step to make someone’s day better.
In other words, there are many ways to be kind as long as you’re willing to make the effort.
Create a kind culture
When it comes to your business, the best way to do this is to create a kind culture. Make kindness a part of your company culture. When you’re hashing out what you want your business to be, include kindness. Share this belief with your employees. Hire employees who try to be kind and who will carry out this mission in their work.
When kindness becomes a part of your company culture, it becomes much easier to spread it to your employees and then to your customers.
Ways to create a kind culture in your business
Treat your employees with kindness
One of the first things you need to remember as the boss is that you lead this company. As Zendesk’s Relate points out, if you want your employees to be kind, you need to be kind.
Make the time to do your job as a manager and find out what’s going right and what’s going wrong with each employee. What are the pressure points within their job and how can they be fixed?
Get to know your employees as people. If an employee mentioned that he attended his son’s baseball game over the weekend, ask how that game went. If you have an employee that’s a huge NBA fan, then ask about her favorite team. These are very simple ways to show your employees that you value them as people.
Another way to lead by example is to be reliable. Always return emails and voicemails. Communicate so that your employees understand what’s happening. Being reliable makes them feel as though they matter within the larger structure of the company.
Make this culture of response and constant communication something that is expected of your employees. It should be present in their interactions with clients.
If you are reliable and your employees are reliable, not only does it foster a kind working atmosphere, but it also creates a great relationship with clients. That, in turn, can translate into more business in the long run.
Be openly kind
Never assume that your employees know their value. You need to tell them, whether it’s through an email or a quick note jotted down on a post-it.
(If you need ideas on how to show your team they are appreciated, check out this previous blog post.)
Sometimes we forget to tell people we believe in them. That’s a mistake. People love to hear that they’re appreciated and valued. Even if they know they’re good at their job, it’s nice to hear it from someone else from time to time.
Turn your kindness outward
As your company grows, start to turn your kindness outward. Talk to your employees and find out what causes matter most to them. Allow them to have a say in what causes your company supports.
Then support that cause. Get your employees involved. Some businesses have a day of giving where the employees are paid to volunteer at a local food bank or soup kitchen. Other businesses do a food drive where employees are asked to bring in canned goods.
Make it a community effort to foster that feeling of kindness throughout your company.
Always treat people with respect
In the business world, you’re going to deal with a variety of different people from different backgrounds. They have different perspectives and different expectations. Whether their beliefs align with yours or not, you should always treat people with respect.
Even when you’re angry, use kind words to express that anger. Always try to deescalate the situation and never make it personal.
While it may take more work and become a greater test of your patience, it is possible to stand your ground while still being respectful.
Finally, smile. Not only is it good for your health by lowering stress and boosting your immune system (NBC News), but it’s also contagious (Science Daily).
When people feel healthier and less stressed, they’re often kinder. Seems like a win-win.
Written by Erika Towne