This week I was asked to speak to nearly 1,000 youth about kindness in kicking off “Kindness Week”.
The event was in honor of a young man who had been in a severe accident, now in a wheelchair, learning how to walk and talk again, named Garrett Webb. An inspiration to everyone for his ability to be happy amid life-changing trials, and equally kind to everyone before and following the accident.
The kids laughed as I recounted the story of my son, when he was 3 years old, walking up to strangers on the playground and optimistically, innocently asking, “Will you be my friend?”
Contrast this to my daughter, a year older than him, who didn’t like asking others to be her friend, but if they asked her to be a friend, then she was your best friend!
Kindness is normally not an office or at-work topic, but it certainly is an office-worthy conversation to have.
Corporate culture depends upon the random acts of kindness that ease the stress of a normal work day, and is driven by great Leaders who are aware of the needs of those he/she leads.
Here are a few ideas for making this week a “Kindness Week” at your work, and in turn, giving you a leg up in regards to your influence, in the boardroom, on the frontlines, and with those you lead on a daily basis:
- Smile – This is actually painful for some people. Don’t let it be. Giving a warm smile to anyone, whether passing in the hall, acknowledging their presence, or even sitting on a webinar where you are bored out of your mind, make an effort to encourage and show a smiling face.
- Look – Have you ever had a conversation with someone who kept looking at their phone as you spoke? Leaders, how does this make you feel when you are trying to mentor in the workplace? Not so great. Look each other in the eye, it makes a huge difference in communication, essential for a healthy workplace. My question for leaders is: Are you looking at those you lead? Often the things that bother us most about other people we do the worst.
- Listen – Crucial Conversations isn’t as much about telling another what to do or how to do it, rather in listening to the issue and mentoring through the response.
- Encourage – This week, try this: When your assistant sends your travel itinerary, instead of not acknowledging it at all, send back an actual email that says, “Thank You! You are amazing. This looks great. Awesome work.” That’s encouraging and uplifting! And its better than the usual “thx” we get too often, which is very hard to pronounce, so use REAL words.
- Serve – Have you ever come to the office and found a warm coffee waiting for you upon arrival, already made up, just as you like it, sitting on your desk? If you have, you know the power of this gesture and how it can make your work day not only better, but make you feel appreciated. Think of the little things you can do around the office, for those you interact with daily, in a way that will make them realize you care.
These are simple leadership lessons for those that have the opportunity (or burden – however you view your current position) of being The Leader, but they are hard to implement for those out of practice. Doing these “Kindness Activites” will change the way you lead, the way others follow you, and improve your business influence consistently.
What is your Promise for “Kindness Week”?
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
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