Kindness is one of the most underrated values in the workplace and yet this is one of the most important. Kindness is about the (genuine) attention you give your colleagues on a daily basis. It helps create strong relationships and build a positive, caring environment to thrive in. The impact on your personal brand is also massive as being seen as kind will make you more approachable and relatable to others.
So how to show more kindness to your colleagues? Here are 9 easy things you can do.
Ask how they are doing – and listen (like, with eye contact and everything)
Giving a nod when you meet your colleague in the corridor or saying hi at the coffee machine but starring at your mug don’t count. Asking how they are doing and listening to their answer is literally the basis of kindness in the office. Start with small talk about work, the last/next office event, the last/next weekend and vacations. Get interested in what they say to get to know what’s going on in their life and try to remember at least one thing for your next conversation with them (you know, the active listening part). It’s the level 1 of networking.
Propose your help and follow through
It’s never easy to ask for help when you are stressed out and overworked. People don’t want to give the perception they can’t handle their work (even they objectively can’t). Make it easier for them and propose your help. If they push back, they might do it our of pride, so insist. If you see someone really struggling, you could sit with them to be the temporary sounding board they don’t realise they need. Don’t do it in front of their Manager or other people, be discreet.
Ask your colleagues to go on a break with you
Whenever you have time, chat with them to see how their day is going and to propose to get a break together later. Vary who you get your break with, don’t always go with your work bff (if you’re always kind to the same person, it doesn’t count).
I mean, anyone who gives me food is my friend so this one might be just for me (for the record this is not the list of the 9 kind things to do to me). Who doesn’t love a colleague who brings donuts or cake in the morning, or biscotti from their trip to Italy?
Invite them out
Whether it’s to get a coffee or a drink, there’s nothing better for building great relationships with colleagues than going outside the office. Inviting them is a very nice gesture that they are likely to do for you later to thank you.
Remember important dates
Celebrate their birthday and their anniversary in the company, and try to not forget any other important date they mention to you.
Say thank you
Thank people more often. Open up about how pleasant it is to work with them and what they represent for you (a great boss, a work friend, a role model, a support). If you can’t say it out loud, write to them.
How long would it take you to send an email or a chat “Congratulations (name) (champagne emoji)!” after a promotion announcement? Please remember to change the (name) part and add the actual champagne emoji before you do a copy/paste.
Pay it forward
Be aware of the little attentions you receive every day and give back to those kind enough to care for you. If someone buys you a gift for your birthday, do the same for theirs. If someone invites you for lunch, invite them back. Accept kind gestures from your colleagues and try to be on the giving end as much as possible in return.