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Create a culture of kindness.

I have a bumper sticker on the back of my Subaru that reads: Kindness is contagious.

Kindness influences how I respond to the world around me. How I make decisions. How I communicate with others – at home, on the streets, and at work.

The other day at the gym, a woman on the stationary bike next to me was complaining to me how she couldn’t program the cycle to the exact workout she wanted.

I said, “Well, I don’t think you can change the control panel, but you can change your workout expectations”. I suggested she select the manual setting, then increase and decrease the resistance and incline whenever she wanted during her thirty-minute workout.

She sighed, rolled her eyes, and muttered, “I don’t want to keep pushing the buttons.”

In fact, things in life don’t always go the way we want. Machines don’t always respond the way we want them to. People don’t always act the way we want them to. We can’t control that.

But each us can control how we communicate with others. If you try it, you’ll discover that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

My wife and I write notes to each other every morning. And we leave them somewhere for the other to find later in the day. Some mornings we’re feeling the love more than others. But we always write a note. For us, it’s a simple way to remind each other, and ourselves, that we appreciate each other no matter what mood we’re in that day.

Praise inspires collaboration and innovative thinking.

Kindness not only makes your personal relationships healthier, it improves your work life too. Offering honest and consistent praise and recognition is a simple, yet very effective way to manage individuals and encourage cooperation among teams.

This article in Inc. Magazine describes how employees who feel appreciated are more likely to take on new tasks; are more open to listening to others; and are willing to try new ways to complete projects.

And this article from Harvard Business Review suggests ways for you to ask for praise, or recognition, when you feel you’re not being acknowledged for your accomplishments.

This study from The National Center for Biotechnology Information describes how being kind makes people on both the giving and receiving ends more satisfied with their jobs.

It reveals how simple acts of kindness boost morale throughout an organization. People who were treated kindly at work responded with 278% more generous acts to coworkers, compared to a control group. Kindness improves performance, increases the time employees stay with an organization, and reduces personal time off averages.

So why not consider doing a simple act of kindness for someone today?

And remember, that someone might be yourself.


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