Kindness Ignites Camaraderie

In times of uncertainty, activating kindness in the workplace can create a necessary shift. We don’t often think about kindness as a leadership strategy. However, right now it could be the most essential strategy you engage with your teams to help them thrive.

A recent gallup poll describes the protracted, dynamic nature of the pandemic as leaving many feeling weary and longing for the pandemic’s finish line. Teams are looking to their leaders for direction as they face unexpected and ever mounting challenges. Onsite workers feel less cared for than their remote counterparts. Communication efforts that were strong in the first 10 weeks of the outbreak have waned and employees feel uninformed. 

According to the same gallup poll, “managers are the linchpin of the employee experience — in fact, they account for an astounding 70% of the variance in team engagement.” A leader holds a team meeting and after some difficult decisions expresses praise about one of the team members and their innovative thinking. Shortly after the meeting, that team member reported that the expressed appreciation inspired him and he began to share even more ideas of how they could adapt.

This is the very reason kindness is a leadership strategy and skill every team leader needs right NOW! It directly aligns with the wisdom of Proverbs describing good leadership. 

Good leadership is built on love and truth, for kindness and integrity are what keep leaders in their position of trust.

~Proverbs 20:28 TPT

 Kindness is …

  • Specific words of encouragement for a job well done, even if it is just the “job” they need to do every single day.
  • Spontaneously checking in on what’s important to your team with a survey question, a one-on-one conversation or an open discussion in a meeting.
  • Asking questions instead of making assumptions so you can better understand the situation or their concerns.
  • More on-on-one conversations that include asking questions about how they are handling their job and their life.
  • Share as much information as you can in meetings and revamp your “open door” policy with remote office hours, more frequent check-ins, or a random text that isn’t about a task.
  • Demonstrate understanding and empathy with words, a gift, an acknowledgement, or even taking the time to just listen to their needs and uneasiness.

Kindness is not the absence of clarity …

  • Be cautious about letting people off the hook for mistakes, instead guide them to learn from them because mistakes have the potential to lead us to the kind of innovation we need today.
  • Engage the tough conversations by starting with empathy, letting them know the impact of what they did and being specific on what you are looking for going forward.
  • Hold people accountable even for the work they don’t love and offer extra praise when they accomplish things that are a “given”.

Activate Kindness Today

Remember, as a manager who supervises others or leads a team you are the linchpin! Everyone is looking to you and kindness is a strategy that can shift the overly complex, calm overreactions, and give hope in an uncertain future. 

Look for 2-3 opportunities in the upcoming week where you can build kindness into your interactions with your team members.  Pay attention to their response and see what kind of difference this has on the individuals and the team.

Contribute your ideas and observations. Comment below!

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Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center of Coaching Excellence.

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