You know these days it seems that we are bombarded with images of business as a ruthless place – it’s dog-eat-dog and survival of the fittest. You only have to look in the media to see what are held up as examples of businessmen and women; it’s arrogant young sales people in ‘The Apprentice’ or those multi-millionaire ruthless entrepreneurs in ‘The Dragon’s Den’. But is this really the best way to do business? At Meta we think there is a better and a smarter way to work, one that builds relationships and creates an environment where everyone can thrive, and it requires just one simple ingredient: KINDNESS.
Think about it for a moment: the places that you have enjoyed work the most, the teams and managers that you loved the most are the ones that valued you, encouraged you, supported you and gave you the opportunity to grow and learn. They were the places where kindness was just the way we did things, where someone was happy to cover you while you went to pick up your kids from school, where someone was happy to help when you were stuck on a report, when someone was there to support you when something went wrong. You see, these acts of kindness are written into our very DNA. We have misunderstood what Darwin meant in his theory of ‘the survival of the fittest’ to mean that we have to look out just for us, that only the most ruthless survive. But actually the ones that have survived through our evolution are those that have worked and co-operated together. We need to get on with those around us in order to succeed!
We understand that in the core of our being, and in our personal lives most of us will be generally kind people. However, for some reason, that doesn’t always translate into our work personas. Maybe it’s because we believe the business myth that we must be ruthless at work in order to progress? However, we believe at Meta that kindness is the smarter way to do work.
Just think about it. If someone abuses his or her authority to make you do something, how do you feel? Will you help them out next time they need you? If someone forces you to do something, because they can, how likely are you to do something for them? If someone is ruthless and self centred, how popular are they in the office? If someone is always playing the political games and stepping over others to get what they want, how likely is it that they have many true friends and allies in the office? If you have a boss that is always picking on what you do wrong and never noticing what you do right, how does that make you feel about them?
You see the ruthless person might get a short-term result but they will not earn the respect and trust from their work colleagues. They damage the long-term relationship for short-term gain. They will always lose out in the end.
And what of kindness? What can kindness do for us?
When we are kind, it creates a kind of domino effect; as we are kind to others, so they will be kind to others. It’s known in scientific terms as the ‘ripple effect’. It also makes us feel good when we do it. It releases many of the happy chemicals in our brain and makes us and the person we are being kind to feel better. So the more we do it and the more benefit we see, the more likely we are to do it again.
So what do you want your ripple to be today? Do you want to be a force for good? Spread kindness in your workplace?
I don’t think ANY of us want a ruthless and negative workplace. We all want to be respected, valued, supported and developed. We want our team around us to be kind, friendly and we all want to have more fun! So how about we start by being kind? Practice little random acts of kindness – nothing major: helping out a colleague when they are stuck on something, saying thank you a little more often, making the tea, and getting the doughnuts in for the team, being a friendly, supportive ear to a team member, going that extra mile for your customer, sharing your expertise with another.
Its not difficult, and it can make the world of difference. So spread a little kindness in your office and see what it does for you.