No one has ever become poor by giving — Anne Frank
Being kind to others has lost its broad appeal.
The news daily reports about closing borders to asylum seekers, separating families, and Catholic MAGA schoolboys mocking Native American elders. Racism and nationalism have become almost acceptable in polite company.
And yet: being kind is not only right, it is good business.
The reason for this is simple. Everyone you work with is human. Supporting your co-workers and employees improves loyalty and motivation across the board. Gill Corkindale’s excellent article in the Harvard Business Review is well worth reading if you need to be convinced.
Perhaps even more impactful, both to business and to the world, is the fact that kindness is contagious. If we want the people in our company to help our clients, then as leaders we should promote kindness within. This article by Bill Taylor lays out the basics of how this worked at Mercedes-Benz USA when they transformed and improved their customer service culture.
But what about the idea that each person should “pull himself up by the bootstraps”? How does that fit into the culture of kindness?
Let’s talk briefly about focus. Some prefer to focus more on what the individual has done — worked hard, struggled through tough times — and others prefer to focus more on the help an individual has received. We have all received help, whether it is from our parents, our friends, or even strangers. No one would survive childhood without that help. So, yes, what you do matters, and also yes, the help you receive matters. And the fact is, some people receive far more help than others.
In a culture of kindness, we recognize that the help and support each person gets throughout life varies widely. As leaders we lend our support to our employees consistently as a baseline. We additionally look for ways we can give extra support and help to those who need it. This boosts performance across the board.
And it’s worth doing for its own sake.