I rarely see the term “kindness” used in organizations as a way to describe desired behaviour.
Staff are urged to be engaged, to collaborate, to be transparent, to respect a person’s sexual preference and gender. And not to “flirt, leer or wink”. (Mikado)
Management/leadership shows us the way, removing barriers to execution, hire as per the latest fad de jour, and maintains a work life balance. And if you follow social media, you get about a hundred inconsistent posts an hour how to be a great manager/leader.
But where has simple kindness gone? Simple plain common kindness. I am not going to define, because critics would tear me apart. But I know what it is, and I know it when I don’t see it.
Kindness has nothing to be with being assertive, demanding, delegating or assuming responsibility. (I myself am very goal oriented, yet I consider myself a kind and compassionate human being).
So for those who want to improve organizational life, get back to the basics. Small minuscule kindness can make a world of difference to organizational interaction.
I was in the US in the summer and there was a cold spell. I had not brought the appropriate clothing from home. The R&D manager drove me to a shop to buy a sweater in the middle of the day, cancelling an important meeting. “I noticed you were shivering”.
While waiting in line for food, George speaks to the people who serve him
CEO Jeremy ALWAYS closes his phone during meetings and discussions.
Marwan has made a rule for himself that he will never start or end the day without some small talk with his peers.