Editor’s Note: Several of our Women of HR writers have come together to share some of the best pieces of career advice they’ve received. Their series of posts will run over the next couple of weeks. Enjoy!
Buzzwords. As much as we love to hate them, it’s almost impossible to avoid them especially in the work environment.
On a daily basis we are inundated with corporate buzzwords relating to topics such as thinking out of the box, taking the initiative, being authentic, honing our networking skills, taking ownership, fostering team spirit, becoming more innovative, creating engagement…the list is endless.
I do not underestimate the importance of the above mentioned skills and attributes, however it seems that we place so much emphasis on them at the expense of other less visible attributes and virtues. Virtues such as kindness, thoughtfulness and empathy.
Why do we not hear more about the importance of showing kindness in the work place? Why is it not openly touted in the workplace as an attribute of a successful employee?
Does the competitive nature of most work environments somehow discourage overt displays of kindness?
Is it possible to be kind in the workplace without compromising our competitive and professional edge?
These are questions worth considering.
Kindness is such a powerful virtue and it would be such a great idea if we incorporated a little more kindness, empathy and the willingness to empower others in our work environments.
I recently attended a Workshop on Gender Balanced Leadership hosted by Dianne Bevelander. She is the Associate Dean MBA programmes at The Rotterdam School of Management, and someone that I admire very much. It was a very powerful and insightful session and I found myself having multiple“Aha moments”.
I would like to share a thought that she shared at that event that impacted me the immensely and has stayed with me ever since.
“Be kind to others…. When you make others powerful, you also become more powerful”
There is so much power in small acts of generosity and kindness.
Acts of kindness such as the gift of a smile or a listening ear. The gift of suspending judgment until all the facts are known. The gift of inclusion and acceptance.
What if some of the new buzzwords in our organizations revolved around Kindness? What if we placed a premium on sponsorship and empowering others? What if we began to do unto others as we would have done unto us?
Imagine the impact it would create in our daily interactions within and without our workplaces.
I was dismayed to read about the harsh LinkedIn rejection letter from a Cleveland Job bank operator that went viral a few weeks ago. You can read about it here.
In my opinion, this incident just brings to the fore symptoms of a lack of kindness and empathy prevalent in our society today. It is made manifest in the unwillingness to share of your knowledge and expertise unless there is something to be gained in return.
I have often wondered, which is easier? To watch others go through the exact same mistakes and difficulties that one has gone through, or to make their journey easier and rewarding by sharing of your knowledge and wealth of experience?
There has been a lot of talk about women being reluctant to help each other climb up the career ladder and stories like the aforementioned just serve to reinforce that negative perception. Let’s begin to ask ourselves questions like “who are you mentoring?” How are you sharing your knowledge and wealth of wisdom with the next generation?
Let’s create a Buzz around kindness.
Kindness is a life skill that will serve us well within and without the workplace.
To whom are you extending a hand of kindness to?
“Wherever there is a human being, there is a chance for a kindness.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca
About the Author: Tamkara currently lives in The Hague and is currently taking time off from her day job in Procurement and Sourcing to pursue an MBA. She will be spending the next few months studying, blogging and learning Dutch. You can connect with her on twitter @tamkara or find out what she’s up to at www.naijaexpatinholland.com.