A true hero isn’t measured by his strength, but by the size of his heart
– Zeus, from Disney’s movie Hercules
Okay, I have to admit – during our weekends spent isolated at home, and with blistering temperatures outside, my family and I have been binge-watching the Marvel superhero movies. The most powerful moments for me are not the bombastic CGI battle scenes, but rather, the quiet moments when the characters reflect and take an action based on kindness. Yes, these bigger than life make-believe heroes always seem to pause, show a moment of vulnerability, and follow it with a generosity of spirit and action.
With all the craziness of our world today, we are reading and hearing a lot of words we don’t normally think about when we think “workplace” – words like empathy, resilience, emotional safety, trust, caring, and kindness.
Kindness is a noun that means the quality of being friendly, generous, respectful and considerate. Its opposite is unkindness and meanness.
There are studies that show that kindness in the workplace is linked to stronger connections among workers, and greater overall wellbeing. And many of those studies have shown the direct link to a company’s bottom line when there is a strong sense of well-being and engagement among workers.
“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.”
– John Ruskin
So, nurturing kindness in the workplace makes a lot of business sense. We recognize its power and the importance of it within leaders, across workplaces, and embedded in company cultures.
But it’s not just about the impact of kindness on the bottom line. There is also the biology of it – releasing serotonin and oxytocin – generating feelings of self-esteem, calmness and happiness, as well as lowering blood pressure.
For me, that gives kindness superpower status. And by the way … it is contagious (in a good way!). Whether giving or receiving kindness, it spreads with a ripple effect among individuals and across our workplaces – creating superheroes. Yes, superheroes walk among us!
3 Things you can do to nurture kindness in your organization
- Start talking about it. Kindness is hardwired within most of us. Bring the language of it into your organization’s communications.
- Model it, reinforce it – it starts with you. It only takes one person to begin, and then others will “begin.”
- Create space for “caring for people.” It is tougher to do in a virtual environment, but see the previous Coaching Right Now blog post, Why Empathy is a Critical Leadership Skill Today, for some ideas: https://www.coachingrightnow.com/blog/why-empathy-is-a-critical-leadership-skill-today/
“You don’t need a cape to be a (super) hero – you just need to care.”
– Kid President
I would love to know what random (or intentional) Acts of Kindness have started a ripple effect across your organization.