There’s a lot to be said for taking a moment in the middle of a busy workday to share some kindness with others. We all tend to get extremely caught up in our deadline-driven worlds, often at the expense of taking a breath to spread a bit of joy. Bringing kindness to work is not rocket science. The workplace does become a better place for all when people are actively looking out for others. If you’re part of a dedicated, enthusiastic work team, there are some ways you can improve the workday. It doesn’t matter if you’re at an office or working remotely: all of these ideas apply, regardless of location. Consider giving some of these recommendations a try: Say ‘thank you’. It’s amazing how many people never bother to issue those two simple words. Whether it’s done verbally or in an email, saying ‘thank you’ tells the recipient their input was appreciated and that you also acknowledge receipt. It can make the difference between an abrupt conversation and closure on a difficult topic that the other person was worried about discussing. Handwritten thank you notes are gold these days, and many recruiters are often surprised to receive them from applicants. It certainly is a dying art, and lamentably so. The next time somebody does something nice, shows extra effort or simply steps up to the plate, say ‘thank you’. Those two little words will generate significant mileage. Help a Newbie. Remember the first day you experienced at your current job? Remember when you first graduated and had to walk into a sea of new faces, new technology and new assignments? The feelings are still the same around the world. Starting a new job, especially as a new graduate, is tough. Be the person who approaches a nervous newbie and offers to show them around. Hopefully your organization has a formal orientation program and gives them a mentor buddy as well. If not, recognize it and take some time out of your day to assist them. You’ll gain a friend and a good colleague. Slow Down and Explain. You may be a Subject Matter Expert. You may have forty-nine years of experience in your field. You may be the world’s greatest scholar in your particular area of science. Be aware that you have in-depth knowledge that most, if not all, of the people around you do not. The simple act of slowing down and explaining the basics of what you are researching often works wonders. Most people are interested in others’ work projects. What bridges the gap between active interest and glazed-over eyes is if the Subject Matter Expert actually bothers to put the information into bite-sized, easy-to-understand pieces for those trying to learn. If you’re using advanced calculus to determine the best speed for a machine’s efficiency, don’t show people the calculations you’re using. Instead, explain it in simple English without the math and then you’ll start to see smiles of understanding. You can then go on to explain some of the more advanced mathematical techniques if they are interested. Ask for feedback as you explain and that will tell you if you’re getting your point across. Everybody has their specialty area; the mistake is expecting others to have that same level of knowledge. Step Up. The tough assignments often are the hardest ones to assign. Make it easier for your boss: volunteer once in a while. Tackling difficult challenges will not only help you grow and acquire new skills, but it may also increase your network by working with new people who have different insights than your current team. Learning and expanding one’s horizons is always a good thing. On a related note, if something doesn’t seem right, step up and say something. So often a vital piece of information is missing from consideration during the work project. Of course, be diplomatic and find the appropriate time, but being brave enough to contribute to the discussion is critically important. Ask AND Care. So often we ask ‘how are you’ and expect to hear ‘fine’. Inside, the person you’re asking may not be fine. In fact, it’s likely that they aren’t, especially if they’re dealing with family issues, illness, a bit of anxiety, and/or work overload. Take the time and listen to their response. Their tone of voice and eye contact will tell you something. Give them a few minutes to chat if it will help them feel better. Bringing kindness to work isn’t difficult. It takes a bit of focus and dedication, but it does help improve the workplace. Your colleagues will appreciate it. Now go enjoy your week … and be kind.
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