I’ve written a lot about KINDNESS over the years and feel that this year, more than any other, it’s about time it was taken seriously and seen as an important and powerful component of good business?
In an increasingly VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, there is a pressing need for more responsible and kinder forms of leadership in both business and society. Haskins and Gill carried out a comprehensive research project with leaders from around the world and identified key attributes of empathy, altruism, respect and fairness. They also identified the following common ‘kindness’ behaviours:
- Fostering a sense of inclusion
- Accommodating personal issues
- Treating others with respect
- Being generous in giving and receiving
- Caring and being responsive
- Communicating with a personal touch
- Sharing information transparently and explaining logically
- Giving time and listening intently
- Valuing the views of others
- Giving truthful and constructive feedback
- Counselling and mentoring
- Embracing diversity and tolerance
Promoting a more ethical culture with a focus on compassion and kindness is also being shown to affect the bottom line. Dr Kim Cameron from the University of Michigan has carried out extensive research showing organisations that implement positive, virtuous practices achieve significantly higher levels of effectiveness, including financial performance, customer satisfaction and productivity.
Mary Portas, well known retail consultant and broadcaster, describes the importance of the ‘kindness economy’ and the pivotal role it plays in ensuring survival for not just our high streets, but general business and commerce too! In her recent TEDx Talk, she explains how the triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit and a conscious move away from traditional alpha culture, can provide the necessary momentum for more ethical, kinder and instinctive business that will benefit us all, rather than just an elite few.
Psychologist, Dacher Keltner, in his book Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, challenges the conventional view of human nature being one of self-interest. Having studied earlier work by Charles Darwin and his research into emotions and facial expressions, he reveals the evolutionary value of ethical emotions and the concept of ‘survival of the kindest’. Dacher concludes that people receive significant emotional rewards when acting for the benefit of others, even when it means operating against one’s own self-interest. This means the ability to work for the greater good is actually an evolutionary necessity rather than a ‘nice to have’ trait.
In preparation for ‘Random Act of Kindness Day’ (17th February), what are you going to do to instil a kinder culture in your organisation?
As a first step, download this FREE Random Act of Kindness Calendar to help inspire you!