Sometimes the most effective form of communication is the one that gets overlooked at work: kindness. Quite often, office environments have a competitive dynamic and it’s common for employees to have the mentality that they are at work for work only and not to make friends. However, at a time where the world’s experiencing significant change and a whole host of added pressures, it’s more important than ever that we are kind to one another. After all, kindness cultivates happiness, and who doesn’t want to feel happy at work?
It’s World Kindness Day today and we thought what better way to honour it than to showcase why kindness is key when you communicate. We’ve rounded up our key tips on how to promote kindness in the workplace.
If there’s anyone we can learn from, when it comes to being kind and compassionate, it’s David Attenborough. Not only has he devoted his entire life to encouraging empathy with wildlife, he also speaks with great compassion too. The legendary broadcaster recently joined Instagram and in his opening post, stated that ‘saving our planet is now a communications challenge’. He has joined Instagram to share videos to explain what the problems are, how we can deal with them, and to encourage communities to join forces in making change happen.
A major learning that we can take from this is, that we need to work together to move forward and inspire change, rather than dwelling on the negatives. The reality is, perpetuating doom and gloom without any solution scares people, and this puts them at risk of zoning out from the issue in question. Just like David Attenborough, we need to be compassionate to inspire others to take action to make a difference.
When a couple are having problems in their relationship, a marriage counsellor might suggest they are speaking in a different language to one another. The same applies to communicating in business, especially when interacting with people outside of your usual work circle. For example, you might find that when liaising with external clients, it’s difficult to grasp what they are saying, because they work in a completely different industry or use terminology you’re not used to. This can cause misinterpretations which can lead to unintentional friction.
Taking the time to research and understand someone else’s language allows you to communicate compassionately, and in a way that makes sense to them. It also enables you to promote their stories better. The more you can get to grips with what makes them tick, the more likely they will respect you and the easier it will become to reach a fruitful outcome. Not forgetting, of course, that talking to someone in a kind manner means they are more likely to speak to you in the same way back.
Thinking before you speak can make all the difference when communicating. As the old adage goes, ‘it’s not what you say, but how you say it’. People can quickly sense sarcasm, disrespect, and anger, from the tone of your voice. Once that tone is established, it can drown out the entire conversation, making it hard to concentrate on the subject in question. It’s, therefore, crucial to nail down your intentions before airing what you think. Even if you have something difficult to say, try to say it firmly but kindly.
Often, we are so wrapped up in our busy schedules that we forget to show gratitude to team members. A little thank you can go a long way in building a team member’s confidence, and in contributing to their overall happiness in the workplace. Try to create opportunities for employees to praise one another so that this becomes ingrained in your work culture. Setting up a message board and asking employees to write a nice post-it note about fellow colleagues is an easy way to spread kindness at work.
Any idea is better than no idea. Make sure to value everyone’s opinions during meetings. Even if you disagree with a person’s idea, perhaps you don’t think it’s feasible, try not to disregard it, instead, build on what they’ve said. You never know, it might send you in a different direction or help you come up with a completely new idea.
Being kind to one another is crucial for refreshing workplace wellbeing right now. The majority of us spend an awful lot of time at work, so it’s important that we enjoy it. Communicating compassionately can not only help to make your working environment a more enjoyable place for others, but for yourself as well.
For more helpful insights into encouraging better wellbeing at work, take a look at our article: The benefits of flexible working for employees & businesses.
“Since day one, Amy herself has fit seamlessly into our team, understanding the message we want to convey and the audiences we want to reach. Her upfront audit was invaluable in helping us internally hone our common voice, which has demonstrated itself in the consistency of the content we put out as a brand and as individuals within the company. Behind the scenes, Amy has instinctively adopted our internal communication methods (Slack, SharePoint) and works closely with our in-house graphic design team to ensure our graphics and copy are in sync.”Lucy Prior MBE - previously from 3Squared 2021
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“I met Amy a few years ago at a Young Rail Professionals event and was able to provide her with an opportunity to manage the comms on a major alliance which she flourished at. Soon after she started, Marie came along to provide HR support across the multiple businesses. It seems only natural that being as dynamic and knowledge as they are, they are looking to work together on this new venture, which I am sure will be a huge success.”Karen Duncan - Lanehead Coniston