How much have you thought about kindness lately? To a busy entrepreneur, perhaps it doesn’t mean a whole lot outside of it being something warm and fuzzy that you experience every now and then. The truth is, however, that kindness may be one of the most untapped commodities in business.
November 13 is World Kindness Day, so in celebration of this little-known observation, we’d love to show you just how much a focus on kindness in your business could have a positive impact… yes, even on your bottom line!
There’s a lot out there that suggests emotional intelligence (or, EQ) is just as important as IQ when striving for success in business.
One of the pillars of strong emotional intelligence is self-awareness; an understanding of how your own moods, emotions and reactions affect those around you. By having kindness and a sense of empathy at the forefront of your mind, you can create a sense of positive, approachable influence in the workplace, as well as make smarter, less emotion-driven decisions in times of stress - something that definitely comes in handy in the day-to-day unknowns of startup life.
Sure, an age-old way to get ahead in business is effective networking - but it can feel a little ‘what’s in it for me?’ at times.
LinkedIn PR lead Laurie Thornton spoke to Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of BlogHer, on her (highly effective, mind you) long-term approach to networking and professional connection building. Elisa’s philosophy is to think of a relationship less as being on a “per transaction” basis, instead opting for a much kinder, more inclusive approach. She helps those who ask and makes introductions where she can, without an immediate expectation of returned favor or gain, figuring instead that similar treatment will find its way back to her eventually.
And when she switched from entrepreneurship to consulting, her long-term nurturing of her network paid kindness dividends, with her reputation as both a talented and generous business figure preceding her.
It can be a difficult task to go forth with kindness, to act with generosity - especially with so much going on in entrepreneurial pursuits. But, the help you need in the future could come from unexpected places you nurtured early on.
Culture starts at the top. A kind leader will make an impact on the general vibe of an organization, bringing out the kindness and compassion in their team.
Why does this matter? Well, firstly, it has enormous positive effects on the productivity and success of teams, and when someone in a position of power leads by example, the overall receptiveness of such ideas is stronger.
Secondly, kindness has a flow-on effect. When staff are kind to each other, inevitably it flows from them to customers, clients and others in the network. As Dr. Catherine Crock, a physician at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne observed, creating a “culture of kindness” in her workplace was of immense benefit to staff feeling heard and supported, as well as transforming the vibe for patients experiencing the hell of childhood illnesses.
Ah, it’s the mantra of faltering high-profile sports teams everywhere, but it’s true. In a world where we all expect immediate answers, satisfaction and results, the benefits of kindness may take longer to eventuate… so you’re just going to have to be patient and trust the process.
It’s the law of reciprocity; you’ll find that eventually your good deed will be rewarded - so keep an eye out for ways you can practice gratitude and kindness.
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